HC Deb 26 November 1999 vol 339 c221W
Mr. Wigley

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security under what circumstances the Independent Tribunal Service is required to hold a re-hearing of an appeal case; and if he will review the law with regard to such cases. [99547]

Angela Eagle

The law relating to the re-hearing of an appeal was reviewed recently and is set out in the Social Security Act 1998. The Act sets out three circumstances when a tribunal's decision can be set aside and referred to a new tribunal for a re-hearing.

We have carried forward provisions for the Independent Tribunal Service/The Appeals Service to set aside decisions on certain grounds. This is where a relevant document was not received by all parties on time or where a party to the proceedings was not present at the hearing.

We have also retained the provisions for set aside by the Social Security and Child Support Commissioners. A Commissioner can set aside a tribunal's decision where it is erroneous in law and refer the appeal back to the Independent Tribunal Service/The Appeals Service for a new decision.

The Act introduces new provisions for tribunal decisions on Social Security Benefits to be set aside where the original decision is erroneous in law. This allows a tribunal to correct its own decision where it is clearly wrong or where both the appellant and the Secretary of State consider that the decision is erroneous in law. This new provision does not remove the right of appeal to a Commissioner but it dispenses with the need for an appeal to go to the Commissioners in some circumstances.

Mr. Lidington

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he expects the Independent Tribunal Service to provide the hon. Member for Aylesbury with the clarification of the case of Mr. David Reader (references D04 048 1999 00512 and D04 048 1999 00981) which was promised by the Regional Chairman of the Independent Tribunal Service in his letter of 13 August. [98758]

Angela Eagle

[holding answer 22 November 1999]: This is a matter for the President of the Appeals Service, His Honour Judge Harris. However, I understand Robert Martin, the Regional Chairman, replied to the hon. Member on 19 November with further information about the case of Mr. Reader.