All reasonable work search action - Universal Credit

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All reasonable work search action - Universal Credit

Post by Non Deficere on Sun Dec 31, 2017 10:16 am

Great explanation and reason for decision...

I particulary like this bit...

The Upper Tribunal’s re-made decision
40. Miss Thackray for the Secretary of State very properly accepts that the
Appellant’s reduced work search activity in the fortnight in question still amounted to
“all reasonable action” for the purposes of section 17(1)(a) and regulation 95. As well
as allowing the appeal to the Upper Tribunal and setting aside the First-tier Tribunal’s
decision, I also re-make the decision of the First-tier Tribunal in the following terms:
“The Appellant’s appeals are allowed.
The Secretary of State’s decisions of 17 October 2016 are both revised.
The Appellant undertook all reasonable work search action for the periods
04/07/2016 to 10/07/2016 and 11/07/2016 to 17/07/2016. It follows that the two
medium-level sanctions of 28 days each should not have been imposed.
The Secretary of State should therefore arrange repayment of the moneys
deducted under the universal credit sanctions in question with all reasonable

41. I do not have the power to make any further award in terms of interest on those
arrears of UC or any compensatory payment.

Some wider issues of note

42. There are three wider issues which should perhaps be noted.

43. The first is that it is obviously a matter of great regret that it has taken a year to
get from the sanction decision via a mandatory reconsideration process and a Firsttier
Tribunal appeal to a satisfactory resolution of this case in the Upper Tribunal.
During that time the Appellant has had to endure very difficult financial
circumstances. Her written submissions throughout this process show that she is an
articulate and determined individual who has persisted when many others might have
given up.
44. Secondly, it is unfortunate (putting it mildly) that the Secretary of State’s original
response to the appeal, as submitted to the First-tier Tribunal, was less than
comprehensive in terms of its coverage of the relevant law.
The response included a
somewhat garbled version of the text of regulation 95(1), but no reference to the
possibility that the “expected number of hours” might be subject to a deduction on
account of any of the specific mitigating circumstances set out in regulation 95(2)(b).
Similarly there was a passing but unparticularised reference to regulation 99 as
listing “circumstances in which a work search requirement no longer applies” followed
by the bald statement that “none of those circumstances apply in this case”. Just as
there was no explicit reference to the category of domestic emergencies or other
temporary circumstances in regulation 95(2)(b), so the parallel terms of regulation
99(5)(b) were not cited. Accordingly there was no hint to the Appellant that her
particular situation was arguably accommodated by the Regulations.
45. Thirdly, tribunals must always bear in mind that the UC sanctions regime
involves a financial penalty, and so the provisions should be strictly construed (see
by analogy DL v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (JSA) [2013] UKUT 295
(AAC) at paragraph 14). Putting the matter another way, I subsequently suggested
that “there is an argument in sanctions cases that the claimant should be given the
benefit of any doubt that may reasonably arise”
(CS v Secretary of State for Work
and Pensions (JSA) [2015] UKUT 61 (AAC) at paragraph 19). I do not suggest that in
the present case there is any need to give the Appellant the benefit of the doubt.
However, especially with the increased severity of the UC sanctions regime, as
compared with the previous arrangements, tribunals need to scrutinise sanctions
decisions with considerable care.


In light of Nicholas Wikeley’s sage words in para 44 above, I thought this was relevant to JSA and UC claimants:

Claimants’ right to be believed

The burden of proof now weighs very heavily upon claimants ☹️

I have read somewhere recently that the cost of medical evidence may be scrapped.

Last edited by Non Deficere on Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:13 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typos)

Last edited by Non Deficere on Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
Non Deficere

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