If this is your first visit, check out the community guide. You will have to Join us or Sign in before you can post.

My hearing is tomorrow at 14.30. Last minute questions, tips, advice...

I have my hearing tomorrow for my ESA appeal. Brief history of my claim:

Jan 2015 - applied for ESA
Mar 2015 - placed in support group
Mar 2016 - medical assessment
July 2016 - ESA disallowance. No points scored.
July 2017 - Sent in late Mandatory Reconsideration (it took me this long to complete and send it.)
June 2018 - Received Mandatory Reconsideration Notice (admin error meant it was not looked at until I called them up about it 11 months later.)
July 2018 - Appeal lodged.
November 2018 - Appeal date.

I did set my appeal for paper hearing as I was not comfortable attending. Then it got a letter quite quickly after this saying my appeal was adjourned so I can send in more evidence (which I had requested to do) and also for an oral hearing (which I had not requested). I called up to change back to paper hearing and checked a few times it was a paper hearing. Anyhow, I done research online and found out from reliable source that there was a very low success rate for paper hearings. I was debating whether to change back to an oral hearing but was worried I'd be waiting a long time to get a hearing date. 

Then, I received a letter with a oral hearing date set for the month after. I am not sure why it was still set for oral hearing, but I was kind of glad seen as that date was not long to wait and my chances increase if I attend the hearing.

Anyhow, I was initially given 28 days to send in further evidence and I sent wrote about which descriptors my condition would apply to. I sent this in before the deadline. I then wanted access to my GP records and the notes from my psychotherapy sessions. I requested a further month to get these and send them off. I was granted this month. Then not long after I got the letter to say my appeal hearing date had been set. 

I have been waiting for my GP records and psychotherapy records. These both came through within the past week. I also wanted to write some more evidence. I also wanted to create an index/overview type thing in order to present my evidence properly and reference to the bundle as necessary. I put this off and off (my OCD makes starting and finishing tasks very difficult). So I have basically just been waiting for the GP records and psychotherapy records.

So the past few days I have been working on writing up this new evidence and tying it all up, referencing relevant areas of gp records, psychotherapy records and other parts of the bundle etc. I was hoping to get this all completed a few days ago and post it or email it all off so I could give the clerks time to process it and I was also hoping the panel could read it before I came in. In all honesty I have been hoping to avoid too many questions as I just do not do well in those type of situations. I done crap in the medical assessment and this is one of the reasons I was disallowed the ESA I suppose. I was hoping all of the evidence I wished to send would be in front of them and had been read and they would not have to ask me too many questions. 

Anyhow, it's now 8pm and I am still writing up and finishing off my evidence. I called the clerk today directly. He said I can bring in evidence on the day. He advised me to get in early so the clerk can copy it, process it and put in front of the panel. He also mentioned to me if it was a lot of evidence then the judge may adjourn it. I hope it is not adjourned. I would rather this over and done with if I am honest. And it is quite a bit of evidence if to be fair. 

Any advice here with regards to me bringing in evidence on the day?

Also, any advice in general with regards to being successful at the tribunal? Any tips?

Replies

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Posts: 4,079Member, Community champion Brian Blessed
    You haven't stated what date your hearing is.

    I'm guessing as you were previously in the Support Group then it's this you're hoping to be placed into? The reason i'm asking is because i see you've said you've wrote about which descriptors your condition would apply to. Do you know which descriptor you're aiming for? Or would it be reg 35?

    Really speaking the evidence should have been sent to HMCTS ASAP rather than right before the hearing takes place, sending the evidence later could mean it may not be used or they may adjourn the hearing and i'm sure after waiting all this time that's the last thing you want to happen. You really shouldn't delay sending the evidence any longer.

    They will ask you questions about how your conditions affect you. You'll need to answer all the questions yourself as they will want to hear it from you exactly how you're affected. Good luck.



  • debbiedo49debbiedo49 Posts: 2,251Member Brian Blessed
    Good luck.


    I am a fibrowarrior!
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Posts: 2,678Member Brian Blessed
    Impossible to comment on likelihood of success without knowing the case in more detail but the reason you’ve been listed for an oral hearing is that even when you request a paper hearing a tribunal must consider wherever they can decide the appeal without you present. They’ve decided they cannot and that won’t change no mater how many times you ask and attending will increase your chances of success. 

    The fact you’re talking about a bundle of evidence for tomorrow suggests you’ve put too much together and it lacks focus. At this late stage the most likely outcome is a postponement or adjournment as there’s no way a panel can preview a high number of documents for when they have a days worth of 20 to 40 minute hearings to get through. 

    Should it go ahead here are some practical tips:

    1) Concentrate wholly on what you were like on the date of claim.

    2) There are no “trick” questions. Tribunals are usually listed 20 minutes apart so, apart from the appeal papers, they need questions which cut across lots of functions. So the car question is brilliant because it indicates grip; mobility; dexterity; the ability to do something repeatedly; concentration and stamina. Instead of thinking negatively about such stuff think about what they’re getting at and your answers will be much better and more detailed. Similar questions include whether you’ve been on holiday recently. It feeds into mobility (getting across an airport); stamina; the ability to cope alone; the need for aids and appliances.

    3) There are no set rules or order for a hearing beyind the requirement that it must be seen to be fair. 

    4) Watch the judge’s pen. All  members may take notes but only the judge writes a record of proceedings. If you don’t want them to miss anything then remember that they can’t write as fast as you can speak, so watch their pen and slow down. Don’t worry about going too slow. They will tell you if you do.

    5) Never interrupt any tribunal member. It is perfectly okay to challenge them provided it’s not rude or aggressive. However, think about whether what you’re challenging them on is directly related to points. If it’s not then better to focus on points. This is especially important because loads of people second guess the demeanour of tribunal members as determining whether they are pro or against and it’s largely nonsense. An aggressive, challenging member may well just be a poor communicator and wholly on your side right up to the point you challenge them etc.

    6) Get yourself a representative and travel to the venue by whatever means makes you feel comfortable. It’s only ever an issue if you don’t explain what you did in full and if doing so contradicts your other evidence in some way for daily living and /or mobility.

    7) Same goes for clothes. You need to wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and relaxed. If you’re not relaxed then the likelihood of you presenting well are much reduced. Dressing down is not a good idea unless that all you can afford. A person who feels naked without make-up or a suit abd tie will similarly be over stressed if they try to pretend they’re in their comfort zone dressing down. 

    8) Other people’s tribunal experience can be valuable but it’s just that. Their experience. If they lost then it’s the tribunal to blame. If they win they everything they did is why they won and what you must do. The truth is usually very much in between.

    9) Know your case. What points are you going for and why. What’s your evidence? “The HCP was a liar” is neither evidence nor a winning strategy. Also, know the appeal papers. What’s where. 

    10) Do not be tempted to claim you’ve worsened since the date of claim. That’s a recipe for a failed appeal and an invitation to make another claim. Even if you have got worse always concentrate on your date of claim and what you were like then.

  • hughie1hughie1 Posts: 8Member Listener
    Impossible to comment on likelihood of success without knowing the case in more detail but the reason you’ve been listed for an oral hearing is that even when you request a paper hearing a tribunal must consider wherever they can decide the appeal without you present. They’ve decided they cannot and that won’t change no mater how many times you ask and attending will increase your chances of success. 

    The fact you’re talking about a bundle of evidence for tomorrow suggests you’ve put too much together and it lacks focus. At this late stage the most likely outcome is a postponement or adjournment as there’s no way a panel can preview a high number of documents for when they have a days worth of 20 to 40 minute hearings to get through. 

    Should it go ahead here are some practical tips:

    1) Concentrate wholly on what you were like on the date of claim.

    2) There are no “trick” questions. Tribunals are usually listed 20 minutes apart so, apart from the appeal papers, they need questions which cut across lots of functions. So the car question is brilliant because it indicates grip; mobility; dexterity; the ability to do something repeatedly; concentration and stamina. Instead of thinking negatively about such stuff think about what they’re getting at and your answers will be much better and more detailed. Similar questions include whether you’ve been on holiday recently. It feeds into mobility (getting across an airport); stamina; the ability to cope alone; the need for aids and appliances.

    3) There are no set rules or order for a hearing beyind the requirement that it must be seen to be fair. 

    4) Watch the judge’s pen. All  members may take notes but only the judge writes a record of proceedings. If you don’t want them to miss anything then remember that they can’t write as fast as you can speak, so watch their pen and slow down. Don’t worry about going too slow. They will tell you if you do.

    5) Never interrupt any tribunal member. It is perfectly okay to challenge them provided it’s not rude or aggressive. However, think about whether what you’re challenging them on is directly related to points. If it’s not then better to focus on points. This is especially important because loads of people second guess the demeanour of tribunal members as determining whether they are pro or against and it’s largely nonsense. An aggressive, challenging member may well just be a poor communicator and wholly on your side right up to the point you challenge them etc.

    6) Get yourself a representative and travel to the venue by whatever means makes you feel comfortable. It’s only ever an issue if you don’t explain what you did in full and if doing so contradicts your other evidence in some way for daily living and /or mobility.

    7) Same goes for clothes. You need to wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and relaxed. If you’re not relaxed then the likelihood of you presenting well are much reduced. Dressing down is not a good idea unless that all you can afford. A person who feels naked without make-up or a suit abd tie will similarly be over stressed if they try to pretend they’re in their comfort zone dressing down. 

    8) Other people’s tribunal experience can be valuable but it’s just that. Their experience. If they lost then it’s the tribunal to blame. If they win they everything they did is why they won and what you must do. The truth is usually very much in between.

    9) Know your case. What points are you going for and why. What’s your evidence? “The HCP was a liar” is neither evidence nor a winning strategy. Also, know the appeal papers. What’s where. 

    10) Do not be tempted to claim you’ve worsened since the date of claim. That’s a recipe for a failed appeal and an invitation to make another claim. Even if you have got worse always concentrate on your date of claim and what you were like then.


    My appeal was accepted. Thanks for the advice. When I got up this morning to finish the rest of my evidence, I focussed on cutting out all references to my condition worsening since the decision. This basically meant starting again with the 'exceptional circumstances' part. I'd spoke about how the decision had affected me during this period to give them an idea of how it could affect me in future.

    I also made the whole letter / evidence more concise.

    I was awarded the ESA based on reg29/35. I was suprisingly a little dissapointed in that the panel still said I did not satisfy any of the descriptors. I don't know how that is possible. Is it possible that since I satisfied the award based on exceptional circumstances rule they did not bother to see if I satsified any of the descriptors seen as I was awarded esa support group anyway?

    The panel did not waste any time when I went in the room. I handed in my new evidence to the clerk beforehand who went in to the room for ten minutes. She came out and told me to come in to the room. I sat down and was told they do not need to ask me any questions because my appeal was accepted based on the evidence.

    They also put on the decision notice a recommendation to dwp that I am not re-assessed.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Posts: 2,678Member Brian Blessed
    Excellent. Well done.
  • hughie1hughie1 Posts: 8Member Listener
    Excellent. Well done.

    Hi Mike, Please address some of my other points. Thanks
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Posts: 2,678Member Brian Blessed
    Sorry, which specific points?
  • hughie1hughie1 Posts: 8Member Listener
    Sorry, which specific points?

    "I was awarded the ESA based on reg29/35. I was suprisingly a little dissapointed in that the panel still said I did not satisfy any of the descriptors. I don't know how that is possible. Is it possible that since I satisfied the award based on exceptional circumstances rule they did not bother to see if I satsified any of the descriptors seen as I was awarded esa support group anyway?"

    Also, any idea how long it will take to put me back on old rate of pay and backdate what they owe me? How long before I should speak to them about it?

    Also, would you advise me asking for 'statement of reasons?'
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Posts: 4,079Member, Community champion Brian Blessed
    Great news.

    Which descriptor were you going for? As you won your Tribunal does it matter anyway because they placed you into the Support Group.

    It can take 8 weeks or more to backdate the money owed.
Sign in or join us to comment.