Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Bill - continued        House of Lords

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SCHEDULE 7
 
  HOUSING BENEFIT AND COUNCIL TAX BENEFIT: REVISIONS AND APPEALS
 
Introductory
     1. - (1) In this Schedule "relevant authority" means an authority administering housing benefit or council tax benefit.
 
      (2) In this Schedule "relevant decision" means any of the following-
 
 
    (a) a decision of a relevant authority on a claim for housing benefit or council tax benefit;
 
    (b) any decision under paragraph 4 of this Schedule which supersedes a decision falling within paragraph (a), within this paragraph or within paragraph (b) of sub-paragraph (1) of that paragraph;
       but references in this Schedule to a relevant decision do not include references to a decision under paragraph 3 to revise a relevant decision.
 
 
Decisions on claims for benefit
     2. Where at any time a claim for housing benefit or council tax benefit is decided by a relevant authority-
 
 
    (a) the claim shall not be regarded as subsisting after that time; and
 
    (b) accordingly, the claimant shall not (without making a further claim) be entitled to the benefit on the basis of circumstances not obtaining at that time.
 
Revision of decisions
     3. - (1) Any relevant decision may be revised or further revised by the relevant authority which made the decision-
 
 
    (a) either within the prescribed period or in prescribed cases or circumstances; and
 
    (b) either on an application made for the purpose by a person affected by the decision or on their own initiative;
       and regulations may prescribe the procedure by which a decision of a relevant authority may be so revised.
 
      (2) In making a decision under sub-paragraph (1), the relevant authority need not consider any issue that is not raised by the application or, as the case may be, did not cause them to act on their own initiative.
 
      (3) Subject to sub-paragraphs (4) and (5) and paragraph 18, a revision under this paragraph shall take effect as from the date on which the original decision took (or was to take) effect.
 
      (4) Regulations may provide that, in prescribed cases or circumstances, a revision under this paragraph shall take effect as from such other date as may be prescribed.
 
      (5) Where a decision is revised under this paragraph, for the purpose of any rule as to the time allowed for bringing an appeal, the decision shall be regarded as made on the date on which it is so revised.
 
      (6) Except in prescribed circumstances, an appeal against a decision of the relevant authority shall lapse if the decision is revised under this paragraph before the appeal is determined.
 
 
Decisions superseding earlier decisions
     4. - (1) Subject to sub-paragraph (4), the following, namely-
 
 
    (a) any relevant decision (whether as originally made or as revised under paragraph 3), and
 
    (b) any decision under this Schedule of an appeal tribunal or a Commissioner,
       may be superseded by a decision made by the appropriate relevant authority, either on an application made for the purpose by a person affected by the decision or on their own initiative.
 
      (2) In this paragraph "the appropriate relevant authority" means the authority which made the decision being superseded, the decision appealed against to the tribunal or, as the case may be, the decision to which the decision being appealed against to the Commissioner relates.
 
      (3) In making a decision under sub-paragraph (1), the relevant authority need not consider any issue that is not raised by the application or, as the case may be, did not cause them to act on their own initiative.
 
      (4) Regulations may prescribe the cases and circumstances in which, and the procedure by which, a decision may be made under this paragraph.
 
      (5) Subject to sub-paragraph (6) and paragraph 18, a decision under this paragraph shall take effect as from the date on which it is made or, where applicable, the date on which the application was made.
 
      (6) Regulations may provide that, in prescribed cases or circumstances, a decision under this paragraph shall take effect as from such other date as may be prescribed.
 
 
Use of experts by relevant authorities
     5. Where it appears to a relevant authority that a matter in relation to which a relevant decision falls to be made by them involves a question of fact requiring special expertise, they may direct that, in dealing with that matter, they shall have the assistance of one or more persons appearing to them to have knowledge or experience which would be relevant in determining that question.
 
 
Appeal to appeal tribunal
     6. - (1) Subject to sub-paragraph (2), this paragraph applies to any relevant decision (whether as originally made or as revised under paragraph 3) of a relevant authority which-
 
 
    (a) is made on a claim for, or on an award of, housing benefit or council tax benefit; or
 
    (b) does not fall within paragraph (a) but is of a prescribed description.
      (2) This paragraph does not apply to-
 
 
    (a) any decision terminating or reducing the amount of a person's housing benefit or council tax benefit that is made in consequence of any decision made under regulations under section 2A of the Administration Act (work-focused interviews);
 
    (b) any decision of a relevant authority as to the application or operation of any modification of a housing benefit scheme or council tax benefit scheme under section 134(8)(a) or section 139(6)(a) of the Administration Act (disregard of war disablement and war widows' pensions);
 
    (c) so much of any decision of a relevant authority as adopts a decision of a rent officer under any order made by virtue of section 122 of the Housing Act 1996 (decisions of rent officers for the purposes of housing benefit);
 
    (d) any decision of a relevant authority as to the amount of benefit to which a person is entitled in a case in which the amount is determined by the rate of benefit provided for by law; or
 
    (e) any such other decision as may be prescribed.
      (3) In the case of a decision to which this paragraph applies, any person affected by the decision shall have a right to appeal to an appeal tribunal.
 
      (4) Nothing in sub-paragraph (3) shall confer a right of appeal in relation to-
 
 
    (a) a prescribed decision; or
 
    (b) a prescribed determination embodied in or necessary to a decision.
      (5) Regulations under sub-paragraph (4) shall not prescribe any decision or determination that relates to the conditions of entitlement to housing benefit or council tax benefit for which a claim has been validly made.
 
      (6) Where any amount of housing benefit or council tax benefit is determined to be recoverable under or by virtue of section 75 or 76 of the Administration Act (overpayments and excess benefits), any person from whom it has been determined that it is so recoverable shall have a right of appeal to an appeal tribunal.
 
      (7) A person with a right of appeal under this paragraph shall be given such notice of the decision in respect of which he has that right, and of that right, as may be prescribed.
 
      (8) Regulations may make provision as to the manner in which, and the time within which, appeals are to be brought.
 
      (9) In deciding an appeal under this paragraph, an appeal tribunal-
 
 
    (a) need not consider any issue that is not raised by the appeal; and
 
    (b) shall not take into account any circumstances not obtaining at the time when the decision appealed against was made.
 
Redetermination etc. of appeals by tribunal
     7. - (1) This paragraph applies where an application is made to a person for leave under paragraph 8(7)(a) or (c) to appeal from a decision of an appeal tribunal.
 
      (2) If the person considers that the decision was erroneous in point of law, he may set aside the decision and refer the case either for redetermination by the tribunal or for determination by a differently constituted tribunal.
 
      (3) If each of the principal parties to the case expresses the view that the decision was erroneous in point of law, the person shall set aside the decision and refer the case for determination by a differently constituted tribunal.
 
      (4) In this paragraph and paragraph 8 "principal parties" means-
 
 
    (a) where he is the applicant for leave to appeal or the circumstances are otherwise such as may be prescribed, the Secretary of State;
 
    (b) the relevant authority against whose decision the appeal to the appeal tribunal was brought;
 
    (c) the person affected by the decision against which the appeal to the appeal tribunal was brought or by the tribunal's decision on that appeal.
 
Appeal from tribunal to Commissioner
     8. - (1) Subject to the provisions of this paragraph, an appeal lies to a Commissioner from any decision of an appeal tribunal under paragraph 6 or 7 on the ground that the decision of the tribunal was erroneous in point of law.
 
      (2) An appeal lies under this paragraph at the instance of any of the following-
 
 
    (a) the Secretary of State;
 
    (b) the relevant authority against whose decision the appeal to the appeal tribunal was brought;
 
    (c) any person affected by the decision against which the appeal to the appeal tribunal was brought or by the tribunal's decision on that appeal.
      (3) If each of the principal parties to the appeal expresses the view that the decision appealed against was erroneous in point of law, the Commissioner may set aside the decision and refer the case to a tribunal with directions for its determination.
 
      (4) Where the Commissioner holds that the decision appealed against was erroneous in point of law, he shall set it aside.
 
      (5) Where under sub-paragraph (4) the Commissioner sets aside a decision-
 
 
    (a) he shall have power, if he can do so without making fresh or further findings of fact, to give the decision which he considers the tribunal should have given;
 
    (b) he shall also have power, if he considers it expedient, to make such findings and to give such decision as he considers appropriate in the light of them; and
 
    (c) if he does not exercise the power in paragraph (a) or (b), he shall refer the case to a tribunal with directions for its determination.
      (6) Subject to any direction of the Commissioner, a reference under sub-paragraph (3) or (5)(c) shall be to a differently constituted tribunal.
 
      (7) No appeal lies under this paragraph without leave; and leave for the purposes of this sub-paragraph may be given-
 
 
    (a) by the person who constituted, or was the chairman of, the tribunal when the decision to be appealed against was given;
 
    (b) subject to and in accordance with regulations, by a Commissioner; or
 
    (c) in a prescribed case, by such person not falling within paragraph (a) or (b) as may be prescribed.
      (8) Regulations may make provision as to the manner in which, and the time within which, appeals are to be brought and applications made for leave to appeal.
 
 
Appeal from Commissioner on point of law
     9. - (1) Subject to sub-paragraphs (2) and (3), an appeal on a question of law shall lie to the appropriate court from any decision of a Commissioner.
 
      (2) No appeal under this paragraph shall lie from a decision except-
 
 
    (a) with the leave of the Commissioner who gave the decision or, in a prescribed case, with the leave of a Commissioner selected in accordance with regulations; or
 
    (b) if he refuses leave, with the leave of the appropriate court.
      (3) An application for leave under this paragraph in respect of a Commissioner's decision may only be made by-
 
 
    (a) a person who, before the proceedings before the Commissioner were begun, was entitled to appeal to the Commissioner from the decision to which the Commissioner's decision relates;
 
    (b) any other person who was a party to the proceedings in which the decision to which the Commissioner's decision relates was given;
 
    (c) any other person who is authorised by regulations to apply for leave;
       and regulations may make provision with respect to the manner in which, and the time within which, applications must be made to a Commissioner for leave under this paragraph, and with respect to the procedure for dealing with such applications.
 
      (4) On an application to a Commissioner for leave under this paragraph, it shall be the duty of the Commissioner to specify as the appropriate court-
 
 
    (a) the Court of Appeal if it appears to him that the relevant dwelling is in England or Wales; and
 
    (b) the Court of Session if it appears to him that the relevant dwelling is in Scotland;
       except that if it appears to him, having regard to the circumstances of the case and in particular to the convenience of the persons who may be parties to the proposed appeal, that he should specify a different court mentioned in paragraph (a) or (b) as the appropriate court, it shall be his duty to specify that court as the appropriate court.
 
      (5) In this paragraph-
 
 
    "the appropriate court", except in sub-paragraph (4), means the court specified in pursuance of that sub-paragraph;
 
    "the relevant dwelling", in relation to any decision, means the dwelling by reference to which any claim or award of housing benefit or council tax benefit to which the decision relates was made.
 
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