Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Fourteenth Report


APPENDIX III

Memorandum by the Department of Social Security


THE SOCIAL SECURITY (RECOVERY OF BENEFITS) (APPEALS) REGULATIONS 1997 (S.I. 1997/2237)

  1. The Committee has asked for a Memorandum on the following points:

    "(1) Regulation 3(1)(b) authorises the chairman of a medical appeal tribunal to give directions he considers necessary or desirable for the `just, effective and efficient' conduct of the proceedings. Explain what different considerations are meant to be indicated by the two italicised words.

    (2) In regulation 12(1), is the reference to `regulation 11 or 13' a mistake for `10 or 11'?"

  2. As regards the first question, we consider that "effective" and "efficient" are different, although they could overlap. "Effective" means that the directions should be ones which can be complied with and will enable just decisions to be made. The use of "efficient" means that the chairman must keep in mind the expenditure of time and money and the desirability of limiting that expenditure.

  3. The wording used follows that in regulation 2(1)(aa) of the Social Security (Adjudication) Regulations 1995 (S.I. 1995/1801; the relevant amendment is by regulation 3 of S.I. 1996/2450). The chairmen are accustomed to act under that provision and to have used a different formulation would have been likely to have given rise to the question of what change was intended.

  4. As regards the Committee's second question, the reference to "regulation 11 or 13", is not a mistake. The reference is to the periods of times specified:

    (a)   In regulation 11 for an application to set aside a decision on one of the grounds specified in paragraph (1)(a) to (c). The time limit for an application is normally three months under paragraph (3)(b).

    (b)   In regulation 13, for an application for leave to appeal to a Commissioner. This time limit is again normally three months under paragraph (1)(b).

  5. There is no time limit, and hence no need to calculate a time, for corrections under regulation 10. Corrections may be made "at any time" under regulation 10(1).

13th November 1997


 
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