Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Bill - continued        House of Lords
SCHEDULE 7, HOUSING BENEFIT AND COUNCIL TAX BENEFIT: REVISIONS AND APPEALS - continued

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Procedure
     10. - (1) Regulations may make for the purposes of this Schedule any such provision as is specified in Schedule 5 to the Social Security Act 1998, or as would be so specified if the references to the Secretary of State in paragraph 1 of that Schedule were references to a relevant authority.
 
      (2) Regulations prescribing the procedure to be followed in cases before a Commissioner shall provide that any hearing shall be in public except in so far as the Commissioner for special reasons otherwise directs.
 
      (3) It is hereby declared that the power by regulations to prescribe procedure includes power-
 
 
    (a) to make provision as to the representation of one person, at any hearing of a case, by another person whether having professional qualifications or not; and
 
    (b) to confer on the Secretary of State a right to be represented and heard in any proceedings before a Commissioner to which he is not already a party.
      (4) If it appears to a Commissioner that a matter before him involves a question of fact of special difficulty, he may direct that in dealing with that matter he shall have the assistance of one or more persons appearing to him to have knowledge or experience which would be relevant in determining that question.
 
      (5) If it appears to the Chief Commissioner (or, in the case of his inability to act, to such other of the Commissioners as he may have nominated to act for the purpose) that-
 
 
    (a) an application for leave under paragraph 8(7)(b), or
 
    (b) an appeal,
       falling to be heard by one of the Commissioners involves a question of law of special difficulty, he may direct that the application or appeal be dealt with, not by that Commissioner alone, but by a tribunal consisting of any three or more of the Commissioners.
 
      (6) If the decision of such a tribunal is not unanimous, the decision of the majority shall be the decision of the tribunal; and the presiding Commissioner shall have a casting vote if the votes (including his first vote) are equally divided.
 
      (7) Where a direction is given under sub-paragraph (5)(a), paragraph 8(7)(b) shall have effect as if the reference to a Commissioner were a reference to such a tribunal as is mentioned in sub-paragraph (5).
 
      (8) Except so far as it may be applied in relation to England and Wales by regulations, Part I of the Arbitration Act 1996 shall not apply to any proceedings under this Schedule.
 
 
Finality of decisions
     11. Subject to the provisions of this Schedule, any decision made in accordance with the preceding provisions of this Schedule shall be final.
 
 
Matters arising as respects decisions
     12. Regulations may make provision as respects matters arising-
 
 
    (a) pending any decision under this Schedule of a relevant authority, an appeal tribunal or a Commissioner which relates to-
 
      (i) any claim for housing benefit or council tax benefit;
 
      (ii) any person's entitlement to such a benefit or its receipt;
 
    or
 
    (b) out of the revision under paragraph 3, or on appeal, of any such decision.
 
Suspension in prescribed circumstances
     13. - (1) Regulations may provide for-
 
 
    (a) suspending, in whole or in part, any payments of housing benefit or council tax benefit;
 
    (b) suspending, in whole or in part, any reduction (by way of council tax benefit) in the amount that a person is or will become liable to pay in respect of council tax;
 
    (c) the subsequent making, or restoring, in prescribed circumstances of any or all of the payments, or reductions, so suspended.
      (2) Regulations made under sub-paragraph (1) may, in particular, make provision for any case where, in relation to a claim for housing benefit or council tax benefit-
 
 
    (a) it appears to the relevant authority that an issue arises whether the conditions for entitlement to such a benefit are or were fulfilled;
 
    (b) it appears to the relevant authority that an issue arises whether a decision as to an award of such a benefit should be revised (under paragraph 3) or superseded (under paragraph 4);
 
    (c) an appeal is pending against a decision of an appeal tribunal, a Commissioner or a court; or
 
    (d) it appears to the relevant authority, where an appeal is pending against the decision given by a Commissioner or a court in a different case, that if the appeal were to be determined in a particular way an issue would arise whether the award of housing benefit or council tax benefit in the case itself ought to be revised or superseded.
      (3) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (2), an appeal against a decision is pending if-
 
 
    (a) an appeal against the decision has been brought but not determined;
 
    (b) an application for leave to appeal against the decision has been made but not determined; or
 
    (c) the time within which-
 
      (i) an application for leave to appeal may be made, or
 
      (ii) an appeal against the decision may be brought,
 
    has not expired and the circumstances are such as may be prescribed.
      (4) In sub-paragraph (2)(d) the reference to a different case-
 
 
    (a) includes a reference to a case involving a different relevant authority; but
 
    (b) does not include a reference to a case relating to a different benefit unless the different benefit is housing benefit or council tax benefit.
 
Suspension for failure to furnish information etc.
     14. - (1) The powers conferred by this paragraph are exercisable in relation to persons who fail to comply with information requirements.
 
      (2) Regulations may provide for-
 
 
    (a) suspending, in whole or in part, any payments of housing benefit or council tax benefit;
 
    (b) suspending, in whole or in part, any reduction (by way of council tax benefit) in the amount that a person is or will become liable to pay in respect of council tax;
 
    (c) the subsequent making, or restoring, in prescribed circumstances of any or all of the payments, or any right, so suspended.
      (3) In this paragraph and paragraph 15 "information requirement" means-
 
 
    (a) in the case of housing benefit, a requirement in pursuance of regulations made by virtue of section 5(1)(hh) of the Administration Act to furnish information or evidence needed for a determination whether a decision on an award of that benefit should be revised under paragraph 3 or superseded under paragraph 4 of this Schedule; and
 
    (b) in the case of council tax benefit, a requirement made in pursuance of regulations under section 6(1)(hh) of the Administration Act to furnish information or evidence needed for a determination whether a decision on an award of that benefit should be so revised or superseded.
 
Termination in cases of a failure to furnish information
     15. Regulations may provide that, except in prescribed cases or circumstances-
 
 
    (a) a person whose benefit has been suspended in accordance with regulations under paragraph 13 and who subsequently fails to comply with an information requirement, or
 
    (b) a person whose benefit has been suspended in accordance with regulations under paragraph 14 for failing to comply with such a requirement,
       shall cease to be entitled to the benefit from a date not earlier than the date on which payments were suspended.
 
 
Decisions involving issues that arise on appeal in other cases
     16. - (1) This paragraph applies where-
 
 
    (a) a relevant decision, or a decision under paragraph 3 about the revision of an earlier decision, falls to be made in any particular case; and
 
    (b) an appeal is pending against the decision given in another case by a Commissioner or a court.
      (2) A relevant authority need not make the decision while the appeal is pending if they consider it possible that the result of the appeal will be such that, if it were already determined, there would be no entitlement to benefit.
 
      (3) If a relevant authority consider it possible that the result of the appeal will be such that, if it were already determined, it would affect the decision in some other way-
 
 
    (a) they need not, except in such cases or circumstances as may be prescribed, make the decision while the appeal is pending;
 
    (b) they may, in such cases or circumstances as may be prescribed, make the decision on such basis as may be prescribed.
      (4) Where-
 
 
    (a) a relevant authority acts in accordance with sub-paragraph (3)(b), and
 
    (b) following the making of the determination it is appropriate for their decision to be revised,
       they shall then revise their decision (under paragraph 3) in accordance with that determination.
 
      (5) For the purposes of this paragraph, an appeal against a decision is pending if-
 
 
    (a) an appeal against the decision has been brought but not determined;
 
    (b) an application for leave to appeal against the decision has been made but not determined; or
 
    (c) the time within which-
 
      (i) an application for leave to appeal may be made, or
 
      (ii) an appeal against the decision may be brought,
 
    has not expired and the circumstances are such as may be prescribed.
      (6) In paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of sub-paragraph (5), any reference to an appeal against a decision, or to an application for leave to appeal against a decision, includes a reference to-
 
 
    (a) an application for judicial review of the decision under section 31 of the Supreme Court Act 1981 or for leave to apply for judicial review; or
 
    (b) an application to the supervisory jurisdiction of the Court of Session in respect of the decision.
      (7) In sub-paragraph (1)(b) the reference to another case-
 
 
    (a) includes a reference to a case involving a decision made, or falling to be made, by a different relevant authority; but
 
    (b) does not include a reference to a case relating to another benefit unless the other benefit is housing benefit or council tax benefit.
 
Appeals involving issues that arise on appeal in other cases
     17. - (1) This paragraph applies where-
 
 
    (a) an appeal ("appeal A") in relation to a relevant decision (whether as originally made or as revised under paragraph 3) is made to an appeal tribunal, or from an appeal tribunal to a Commissioner; and
 
    (b) an appeal ("appeal B") is pending against a decision given in a different case by a Commissioner or a court.
      (2) If the relevant authority whose decision gave rise to appeal A consider it possible that the result of appeal B will be such that, if it were already determined, it would affect the determination of appeal A, they may serve notice requiring the tribunal or Commissioner-
 
 
    (a) not to determine appeal A but to refer it to them; or
 
    (b) to deal with the appeal in accordance with sub-paragraph (4).
      (3) Where appeal A is referred to the authority under sub-paragraph (2)(a), following the determination of appeal B and in accordance with that determination, they shall if appropriate-
 
 
    (a) in a case where appeal A has not been determined by the tribunal, revise (under paragraph 3) their decision which gave rise to that appeal; or
 
    (b) in a case where appeal A has been determined by the tribunal, make a decision (under paragraph 4) superseding the tribunal's decision.
      (4) Where appeal A is to be dealt with in accordance with this sub-paragraph, the appeal tribunal or Commissioner shall either-
 
 
    (a) stay appeal A until appeal B is determined; or
 
    (b) if the tribunal or Commissioner considers it to be in the interests of the appellant to do so, determine appeal A as if-
 
      (i) appeal B had already been determined; and
 
      (ii) the issues arising on appeal B had been decided in the way that was most unfavourable to the appellant.
      (5) Where the appeal tribunal or Commissioner acts in accordance with sub-paragraph (4)(b), following the determination of appeal B the relevant authority whose decision gave rise to appeal A shall, if appropriate, make a decision (under paragraph 4) superseding the decision of the tribunal or Commissioner in accordance with that determination.
 
      (6) For the purposes of this paragraph, an appeal against a decision is pending if-
 
 
    (a) an appeal against the decision has been brought but not determined;
 
    (b) an application for leave to appeal against the decision has been made but not determined; or
 
    (c) the time within which-
 
      (i) an application for leave to appeal may be made, or
 
      (ii) an appeal against the decision may be brought,
 
    has not expired and the circumstances are such as may be prescribed.
      (7) In this paragraph-
 
 
    (a) the reference in sub-paragraph (1)(a) to an appeal to a Commissioner includes a reference to an application for leave to appeal to a Commissioner;
 
    (b) the reference in sub-paragraph (1)(b) to a different case-
 
      (i) includes a reference to a case involving a different relevant authority; but
 
      (ii) does not include a reference to a case relating to a different benefit unless the different benefit is housing benefit or council tax benefit; and
 
    (c) any reference in paragraph (a), (b) or (c) of sub-paragraph (6) to an appeal, or to an application for leave to appeal, against a decision includes a reference to-
 
      (i) an application for judicial review of the decision under section 31 of the Supreme Court Act 1981 or for leave to apply for judicial review; or
 
      (ii) an application to the supervisory jurisdiction of the Court of Session in respect of the decision.
      (8) In sub-paragraph (4) "the appellant" means the person who appealed or, as the case may be, first appealed against the decision mentioned in sub-paragraph (1)(a).
 
      (9) Regulations may make provision supplementing the provision made by this paragraph.
 
 
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