CF v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2022] UKUT 271 (AAC)10 October 2022

Published: 24/10/2022 09:00

Upper Tribunal Judge Wikeley. Decision in relation to proper procedure in child maintenance appeals. First tier judge had determined F’s appeal (against decision that child was still a qualifying child) on paper without hearing. Rule 27 of the Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Social Entitlement Chamber) Rules 2008 (SI 2008/2685) states that a hearing must be held unless the parties agree otherwise or judge is striking out case. The right to a hearing extends to any further or adjourned hearings; see RW v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (IB) [2013] UKUT 238 (AAC). Here, there was no consent and no striking out. While appeal tribunal had power under s 12(2)(a) Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 to nonetheless exercise discretion to uphold decision it would be wrong to do so. Decision therefore set aside.

Mother had written to judge enclosing documents marked for judge’s eyes only. Judge had refused to consider and directed M to redact and explain basis of redactions. Under rule 19, only the recipient parent’s and child’s address(es) can be kept confidential from other party. Rule 14 says redactions are limited only to information that would be likely to cause ‘serious harm’. Notes that custom has been more lenient. The first tier judge would need to determine whether the mother’s redactions met this ‘relatively high’ test.

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