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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please can you let me know the statistics for the number of civil procedure actions that have been taken against the DWP in the last year for:

county court/small claims;

high court/judicial reviews

Yours faithfully,

Mark Abraham

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no-reply@dwp.ecase.co.uk on behalf of DWP Strategy Freedom of Information, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear Mark Abraham,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 27th
November.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Thanks for your reply. Please can you let me know how many 'pre-action protocols' have been received by the DWP.

To help, if you are unclear of the term, I, (being of an older generation) used to call these 'solicitor's letters'.
This means communications which would have been referred to the DWP legal department about the possibility of legal action being taken.

I'd suggest a period of a year (or less, if the cost to reply is onerous), or alternatively the last easily available information. I'm looking for information at this stage.

As to your statement in your reply:

"You may be interested to note that county court/small claims, do not apply to government
departments only Tribunals and Appeals".

I am interested, thank you.

A reputable law firm, have recently stated in a Supreme Court case, that the government argued in the Appeals court level that appropriate remedies are available to citizens in the civil courts for compensation, and that these should be used instead of the Tribunal and Appeals path. My understanding is the Law firm felt that the Appeals route was the way to bring actions, in certain cases, but not all. So there appear to be other routes.

I would be interested therefore in knowing from where you draw your information from, as this appears to contradict my understanding, and I'd be obliged for your clarification of your source.

I thank you for your help so far, and take this opportunity to wish you a happy new year.

Yours faithfully,

Mark Abraham

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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Following up on my earlier reply to your first response, I thought it might help you if I specify the quote I'm referring to you.

It comes from:
https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/docs/u...

If you look at 8. on page four you'll see the following contained:

"The appeal was allowed. The majority (Sir Brian Leveson PQBD and Flaux LJ) held that the UT did not have power to direct as it did, as this would amount to an impermissible rewording of the regulation: any remedy for theviolation of Convention rights was to be found in an action for damages under section 8(2) of the HRA."

I hope that information is helpful to you, as an action for damages can be taken out in the County Court as far as I'm aware. High Court action is also possible, but that depends on the amount claimed, and the methods chosen also to pursue the claim by the claimant.'

If you have information that advises that an action in the County Court or perhaps even the High Court isn't possible, I'd be delighted if you could share your source, if it's possible to do so.

With thanks for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,

Mark Abraham

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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Further to my response to your reply today, I thought it might be beneficial if I referred you to the source of the Human Rights Act 1998 that appears to be part of the decision making by the Secretary of State, namely section 8 (2) as follows:

"8Judicial remedies.
(1)In relation to any act (or proposed act) of a public authority which the court finds is (or would be) unlawful, it may grant such relief or remedy, or make such order, within its powers as it considers just and appropriate.
(2)But damages may be awarded only by a court which has power to award damages, or to order the payment of compensation, in civil proceedings."

Again, I hope this information aids you with your response in due course.

Yours faithfully,

Mark Abraham

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no-reply@dwp.ecase.co.uk on behalf of DWP Strategy Freedom of Information, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear Mark Abraham,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 3rd
January.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

Mark Abraham left an annotation ()

This application has been refused after review, in my view unreasonably. I've a complaint that's now a year old, and still unresolved, and the DWP complaints are aware I've been making FOI requests. I've asked them to quote the source of information that they've used to inform me, and they've refused to name that source. So I am taking the complaint to ICO, and calling their bluff.

J Roberts left an annotation ()

I suspect the number of civil actions brought against the DWP is very low and that of those brought most would be settled before reaching court. But it seems strange that the DWP would not have the figures.

Here is a case you may be interested in [RL v SSWP (JSA)[2017] UKUT 282 (AAC)] :

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk...

"6.(f) He believed he was entitled to reimbursement for a bus fair to the F-tT hearing.

Answer: This is a matter for the administration. Neither the Upper Tribunal nor the FtT has can deal with this."

Some means of redress must exist for a claimant in such a position. Perhaps the smalls claims court would be the appropriate means, though by the time a complainant completes the DWP complaints process he may too late to bring his claim?

Mark Abraham left an annotation ()

Thanks for the comments here, and the link to the case also. Appreciate the information, and I'll update what progress I make.

Dear [email address] on behalf of DWP Strategy Freedom of Information,

Our Ref: IR2020/00120

Thank you for your letter of the 24th January. I do have a query and would be grateful for clarification.

It's to do with my letter to you of the 3rd January 2020 I said:

"As to your statement in your reply:

"You may be interested to note that county court/small claims, do not apply to government
departments only Tribunals and Appeals".

I am interested, thank you.

A reputable law firm, have recently stated in a Supreme Court case, that the government argued in the Appeals court level that appropriate remedies are available to citizens in the civil courts for compensation, and that these should be used instead of the Tribunal and Appeals path. My understanding is the Law firm felt that the Appeals route was the way to bring actions, in certain cases, but not all. So there appear to be other routes.

I would be interested therefore in knowing from where you draw your information from, as this appears to contradict my understanding, and I'd be obliged for your clarification of your source."

You had a source to be able to provide the information:

"You may be interested to note that county court/small claims, do not apply to government
departments only Tribunals and Appeals".

I am asking for information that gives rise to that statement. Why haven't you supplied that information please?

Yours sincerely,

Mark Abraham

Department for Work and Pensions

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no-reply@dwp.ecase.co.uk on behalf of DWP Central FOI Team, Department for Work and Pensions

Our ref: FOI2020/06207

Dear Mark Abraham,

Thank you for your request for information Re; IR2020/00120 which was
received on 30th January. Your request is being considered under the terms
of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Please accept my sincerest apologies for the delay in responding to your
new Freedom of Information request.

The Act requires that a response must be given promptly, and in any event
within 20 working days. We will therefore aim to reply by 27th February.

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

Yours sincerely,
Policy Group

J Roberts left an annotation ()

You might find this relevant:

"66. There is no such statutory provision which allows a Tribunal to deal with cases of fraud. The position can be considered to be akin, as raised with the Claimant at the Preliminary hearing, to claims for pure personal injury which arise only from an accident at work such as where an employee has fallen from a ladder and broken his or her leg. Those claims belong in the County or High Courts and an Employment Tribunal could not consider them."

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk...

Some DWP staff might fall off chairs.

no-reply@dwp.ecase.co.uk on behalf of DWP Central FOI Team, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear Mark Abraham,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 30th
January.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Mark Abraham please sign in and let everyone know.