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Court Case SSAA 1992


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Fitz, Thanks up to a point. CAB pointed me at the form filling solicitor.

CLAS and Community Legal Service Direct are not worth the effort they are state funded call center clerks.

 

"Failing all else, I at least recommend paying for a half-hour consultation with a local solicitor."

Well that is it as a 'rich' person I have to pay to defend myself from the state.

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CLAS and Community Legal Service Direct are not worth the effort they are state funded call center clerks.

 

I found Community Legal Service Direct very helpful. Their advisers are legally trained and the woman I spoke to was very informative and certainly not a government lacky. I think they are worth calling.

 

As I said, you can omit to mention your savings if it slips your mind. You stand to gain by calling them, and have nothing to lose.

 

Since you are not entitled to legal aid you have the options of employing a lawyer or defending yourself in court. But not having a lawyer in court does not stop you consulting one beforehand.

 

I do not believe that a £70 or so consultation with a solicitor will seriously dent your savings. The one-off fee should be weighed against your defence of a claim of about £2700 owed for income support 'fraud' plus any court fees you may be charged if you lose the case.

 

That is a classic example of a risk-reward ratio. You need to decide for yourself how likely a £70 legal consultation is to help make the vital difference to fend off a claim for £2700.

 

If, for instance, you assess your chances of successfully defending the claim without any legal help as 75% and guess that the legal consultation will improve your chances to 85% then the money is well spent.

 

That's just an example. You will have to weigh up the odds yourself.

 

If I were in your position I would call CLS Direct. If they did not give me satisfaction I would most likely pay for a consultation with a solicitor experienced in welfare law. I would ask him for options on just giving advice or representing me in court.

 

I think you are probably a good barrack-room lawyer and so can represent yourself. But I also think you will benefit from professional advice before going into the bear pit of an English court with experienced DWP lawyers against you.

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How sickening is this: R v Bennett and Bond ex p Bennet 1908 [72 JP 362]

 

A solicitor would be useful in terms of the contract

 

Part 18 Declaration

...

if appropriate my claim for Income Support will be treated as an application for child maintenance

Part 21 What happens next

If you are entitled to Income Support we will write to tell you how ....

If you are not entitled to Income Support we will write to tell you why and what to do if you disagree with the decision

 

You see the reason for the chat with the Job Centre was to tell them I now had residency of my dear little angels.

When the paperwork finally got sent it wrecked the existing Carer's Allowance and took until to October to fix up as the summer was consumed with the CSA taking child maintenance from me in error.

 

My thinking today is: to prepare the case, show it to a solicitor for an hour, re-write based on chat, show it again before hearing (second hour), get solicitor to do the court thing at the hearing (hours).

As in putting my money where my mouth is

 

The magistrate would then have to ponder, if this guy is guilty how come he paid for his solicitor¿

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Is CLS Direct means tested then?

 

Yes.

 

They give assistance under the Legal Help and Help at Court Scheme. Kouros is ineligible for free advice because he has more than £1000 in disposable capital.

 

The LH and H at C Scheme provides a couple of hours free advice to people on low income and savings. Most people on benefits are automatically eligible unless they have over £1k in savings.

 

The scheme does not extend to representation in court.

 

I think the route that Kouros is now taking is the best.

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My thinking today is: to prepare the case, show it to a solicitor for an hour, re-write based on chat, show it again before hearing (second hour), get solicitor to do the court thing at the hearing (hours).

As in putting my money where my mouth is

 

The magistrate would then have to ponder, if this guy is guilty how come he paid for his solicitor¿

 

I think it's wise to consult a solicitor. If you win the case he should be able to ask the court for costs.

 

There will be three magistrates, guided in their decision making by the clerk of the court; but the fact you have a solicitor will not sway them one way or the other.

 

It's the evidence, and the merits of the case, that will be the basis for their judgement. If the DWP have made a mistake then obviously that's the point to press and to prove to the court.

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Huge story in the Daily Mail today about a judgement in the Appeal Court:

 

Today's ruling came after a two-year legal battle in which a poverty pressure group challenged attempts by the DWP to claw back money overpaid to claimants. ...

 

Those who deliberately lie on benefit claim forms to get more money can be prosecuted for fraud.

 

But the 1992 Social Services Administration Act does not give the DWP the right to demand the return of money wrongly paid because of blunders by its own staff. ...

 

The Appeal Court judgement said the complex machinery of social security law should be enough to deal with the problem of overpayments and that it was wrong to threaten claimants with the civil courts as well.

 

Child Poverty Action Group lawyer Graham Tegg said: 'That amounted to double jeopardy. The DWP was saying, heads I win, tails you lose.'

 

'We brought this case because we know that letters sent to vulnerable claimants threatening court action if they do not repay have caused considerable distress.

 

'We are delighted with the ruling that the DWP cannot recover these overpayments through the courts.'

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1220364/Thousands-benefits-claimants-1bn-overpayments-judges-rule.html#ixzz0TwbJlGU3

 

* * *

You said you are being prosecuted for fraud but are defending yourself on

the grounds 'It was a mistake by the DWP to record the benefit as IS when it should have been CA ...'.

 

So this new ruling could be very helpful if you can show error by the DWP. It's definitely worth checking with a solicitor to see how the new ruling will affect your case, esp if it can be thrown out of court.

 

I suggest putting in a SAR to the DWP asking for a 'full audit trail' of your account. This should give a detailed record of benefits paid.

 

I hope the appeal court judgement will help you. Good luck. :)

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  • 7 months later...

I 'won' or more to the point the DWP sent a letter to court saying they were offering no evidence. I turned up AGAIN, DWP did not turn up AGAIN, the case was dismissed and I was found not guilty as if it had gone to trial. All my expenses were repaid within fourteen days.

Life is too short and I decided against taking the DWP to court for damages.

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