12th Dec 2013 – HMRC’s Child Benefit Office officially receive my new Child Benefit application (re: daughter). I request backdating to 1st Aug 2013, as she moved into ***** ********’s (her then-boyfriend’s) house during July 2013. [My Ex] was still claiming Child Benefit, but he wasn’t using the money to financially support her, whereas I was helping to support her.
[Over the course of the next few YEARS, and despite repeated prompts by me, HMRC refused to ever contact [her then-boyfriend] and/or his mother ****** ******** directly to establish material facts for material period. Instead, HMRC chose to simply believe the lies of [my Ex and his girlfriend]].
13th Aug 2014 – Judge Janet Ward issues a Directions Notice, adding [my Ex] as a Party To Proceedings. [Fair enough]
23rd Sept 2014 – Judge Miss R. L. Campbell issues a Directions Notice, in response to me possibly wanting to pause my Appeal. [Fair enough]
29th Oct 2014 – Judge S. D. Ennals issues a Directions Notice, directing me to provide proof that my daughter was living with me from 12/12/13 to present (29/10/14). [I’ve never claimed that my daughter resided with me for the material period of Aug 2013 to mid-April 2014! My daughter moved out of her dad’s house at some point in July 2013 into ***** ********’s (her then-boyfriend’s house), where she lived for 9 months until mid-April 2014, then she moved back into her dad’s house. [Daughter] then briefly lived with a different boyfriend for a bit (“****”), then moved back into her dad’s house again.]
14th Nov 2014 – I formally request, in writing, that HMCTS issue several DIRECTIONS, to compel HMRC, College, Jobcentre, & others, to provide evidence that would support my claim.
21st Jan 2015 – Judge S. D. Ennals issues a Directions Notice, he writes: “She [me] is reminded again that the issue in this appeal is whether she meets the conditions of entitlement to Child Benefit, from the date of her claim, or indeed for any period before that claim. It is not appropriate to issue the directions she seeks, as they are not likely to provide evidence to support her claim, whether or not they undermine the claim of [daughter’s] father.” [Daughter actually independently updated HMRC, her College, and the Jobcentre with her new address ([then-boyfriend’s] address) whilst she was living with *****. If Judge S. D. Ennals had actually issued the Directions I’d sought, they would have provided strong proof that would have supported my claim.]
1st May 2015 – Judge G. I. Marsh decides at this First Tier Tribunal to REFUSE my Appeal (ie I have lost). He writes in his Decision Notice: “The appellant [me] is not entitled to Child Benefit for [daughter] on date of claim or any date before that. [Daughter] had not lived with her since the end of August 2011. She moved to live with her father who had claimed Child Benefit and was still receiving Child Benefit at the appellant’s date of claim.” [Yep, this is because [my Ex] continued to claim Child Benefit, despite [Daughter] not living with him, and he wasn’t using the money he obtained to support [Daughter]]. The handwritten Record of Proceedings I subsequently received wasn’t totally legible.
13th Aug 2015 – Judge N. P. Sellar issues Decision Notice, in which he/she FAILS to “Set Aside” Judge G. I. Marsh’s FTT Decision of 1/5/15, & also FAILS to grant me permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal.
26th Nov 2015 – The Upper Tribunal Office officially receives my Application for permission & Notice of Appeal.
10th May 2016 – Upper Tribunal Judge Nicholas Wikeley issues Observations On Application For Permission To Appeal, & Directions in which I’m asked to indicate whether I want my application to be ruled on as it stands, or to have extra time so that I may be able to obtain advice, & if so, how long. [Fair enough]
4th July 2016 – Upper Tribunal Judge Nicholas Wikeley issues Notice Of Determination Of Application For Permission To Appeal, & Case Management Directions. He also grants me permission to appeal, giving his Reasons.[Jolly good!]
19th Sept 2016 – Elisa Collins (for the Commissioners of HMRC (Technical)) provides a very detailed and excellently considered submission to the Upper Tribunal, in which she submits that the FTT on 1/5/15 erred in law, & Elisa Collins (for the Commissioners of HMRC (Technical)) SUPPORTS MY APPEAL! [Excellent news!]
9th Nov 2016 – Upper Tribunal Judge Nicholas Wikeley “Sets Aside” Judge G. I. Marsh’s FTT Decision of 1/5/15, concluding that the FTT erred twice in law! [Superb!]
30th Nov 2016 – HMCTS Birmingham receive written confirmation from **** ********- my daughter’s then-boyfriend’s mother (a leading solicitor) confirming that my daughter resided with her then-boyfriend’s family for the material period (Jul/Aug 2013 to April 2014), that she wasn’t aware of [daughter’s] father (my Ex) providing any financial support to daughter, but that I did contribute to daughter financially.
[This is the pivotal evidence that should have led to me winning my appeal. But subsequent Judges continued with their substandard and unjust decisions….]
7th Dec 2016 – Judge N. P. Sellar issues DIRECTIONS NOTICE. It confirms the FTT Decision of 1/5/15 has been “Set Aside” by the Upper Tribunal. Judge G. I. Marsh and Judge N. P. Sellar are both excluded from the future new FTT Appeal. [Fair enough]
24th April 2017 – Judge J. Verman at freshly constituted First Tier Tribunal FAILS/REFUSES to Allow/Grant my Appeal [I lose again]. This is despite the pivotal written evidence from ***** ******** (daughter’s then-boyfriend’s mother), in which she confirms that my daughter resided as part of her family for the material period!!! [Truly shocking & Substandard decision making]
21st May 2017 – I request a STATEMENT OF REASONS, RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS, & word for word typed copy of RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS.
27th June 2017 – I receive Judge J. Verman’s STATEMENT OF REASONS & hand-scrawled RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS (some of which is hard/impossible to read!).
23rd July 2017 – I formally request that Judge J. Verman’s Decision of 24/4/17 is “Set Aside”. I thoroughly criticise Judge J. Verman’s reasoning. I also request permission to Appeal to Upper Tribunal if Judge J. Verman doesn’t set aside her Decision.
8th Aug 2017 – Judge J. Verman FAILS/REFUSES to “Set Aside” her Decision of 24/4/17, & also REFUSES me Permission To Appeal to the Upper Tribunal. Her DECISION NOTICE states: “1. It is not appropriate to review the decision because I am not satisfied there is any error of law in the Tribunal’s decision. [There was only 1 panel member – Judge J. Verman]. The appellant states that she is extremely disappointed with the FTT decision, especially as the Upper Tribunal has already bounced it back once already. The Upper Tribunal decision at paragraph 30 states that there will need to be a fresh hearing of the appeal before a new tribunal. I should make it clear that I am making no finding, nor indeed expressing any view, on whether or not the mother is entitled to child benefit for [daughter] for the material period. In order to be granted permission to appeal the appellant must show that the tribunal made an error of law. It is clear that the appellant disagrees with the decision of the tribunal [sole panel member Judge J. Verman]. However, it is also clear that the reason she disagrees is because her view of the facts is different to that of the tribunal. The sole decider of the facts is the tribunal [sole panel member Judge J. Verman] which has adequately explained why it has reached its decision. 2. Permission to appeal is refused. No arguable question of law is disclosed by the application – for the reasons set out above.”
29th Aug 2017 – I Apply for Permission & Notice of Appeal to the Upper Tribunal.
20th Sept 2017 – Upper Tribunal Judge Nicholas Wikeley REFUSES my application for permission to appeal.
31st Oct 2017 – I send my request for a Judicial Review to Royal Courts of Justice. I’ve never done one of these before. As usual, I have no legal help whatsoever. Still, I’m quite proud of how I manage to put my application together. Paperwork gets ping-ponged unnecessarily over the next few weeks, partly due to the antics of the Royal Courts of Justice Administrative Office.
9th Nov 2017 – I formally complain to HMCTS, as I’d requested a word for word typed copy of Judge J. Verman’s RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS for this Appeal more than 5 months ago. I wrote that “I believe it is incumbent on HMCTS to ensure that everything that HMCTS and the Judiciary produce, is clear to read by an Appellant (me). Due to the nature of the handwriting, not all of it is understandable.”
15th Jan 2018 – Judge J. Verman issues a rather abrupt DECISION NOTICE: “The Record of Proceedings will not be typed. There is no suggestion that the Record of Proceedings is not readable in this case. Permission to appeal was refused on the 8/8/17.” [Clearly, there is more than a suggestion that some of the Record of Proceedings is difficult/impossible to read, otherwise I wouldn’t have continued to press for a typed copy! They may make perfect sense to Judge J. Verman, after all, she ought to be able to decipher her own handwriting. That does not mean that they are easily readable by anybody else!]
25th April 2018 – His Honour Judge Blackett REFUSES me permission to apply for a Judicial Review. He gives the briefest of Reasons:
- There is no arguable case which has any prospect of success. The decision of the Upper Tribunal refusing permission to appeal and the decision of the First Tribunal are not wrong in law. The Claimant simply disagrees with the decision and wishes to re-litigate: this is not the purpose of Judicial Review.
- The claim does not raise an important point of principle or practice and there is no other compelling reason to hear it.
CPR 54.7A applies to this case. By virtue of CPR 54.7A(8) the decision to refuse permission is final and rule 54.12(3) (request for reconsideration at a hearing) does not apply.
How on Earth can Judge Blackett say my claim doesn’t raise an important point of principle or practice, when for several years HMRC/Child Benefit Office (& the CSA) have consistently FAILED to contact the family of ***** ******** (my daughter’s then-boyfriend) to establish the material living arrangements for the material period, by insisting they are prevented by law from contacting such a “third party”!!! Then, when [then-boyfriend’s mother] eventually writes directly to HMCTS, confirming the material living arrangements for the material period, I am failed yet again by Judge Verman‘s substandard rationale and decision making.
Also, my Ex was added to my Appeal as a Party, and received an appeal bundle. Yet because his own claim never made it to HMCTS, I never got to see the yarn that he has been spinning to the Child Benefit Office over the last few years. I maintain that my claim did raise important legal principles. I truly believe that British “Justice” has failed me.
Here’s how I’d describe the shambles of Child Benefit Appeal SC024/16/00**0:
This Child Benefit Appeal covers the 3 month period from early June 2015 to early September 2015, and is completely separate from the earlier Child Benefit Appeal. My daughter stopped living at her dad’s house, and resided at my house again. My Ex pretended that [daughter] still lived with him, so that he could continue to claim Child Benefit, & CSA maintenance from me, & reduce his CSA payments to me (in respect of our son).
15th Mar 2016 – Judge Keith Wilding REFUSES/FAILS to issue Directions I’d requested. One of my requests was for the Tribunal to issue a DIRECTION/ORDER to obtain my daughter’s mobile phone tracking data for this 3 month material period, which would have proven conclusively that [daughter] went nowhere near her dad’s house for several weeks, and certainly wasn’t living there any more. But Judge Keith Wilding simply stated in the DIRECTIONS NOTICE that “These are not directions that the Tribunal is able or willing to make.”
18th Oct 2016 – At today’s Hearing, Judge Miss J. R. Beale adds my Ex as a Party to Proceedings. Judge Miss J. R. Beale REFUSES/FAILS to order the obtaining of my daughter’s mobile phone tracking data/records, which would have proven conclusively that my daughter went nowhere near her dad’s house for several weeks, and certainly wasn’t living there any more. The handwritten RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS was difficult/impossible to read in parts, though I could see that Judge Beale had referenced our discussion about me wanting to obtain daughter’s tracking data/records. However, in the actual ADJOURNMENT NOTICE from this date, Judge Beale NEGLECTS TO MENTION the discussion of my request to obtain daughter’s mobile phone records/tracking data, and her REFUSAL/FAILURE to issue my perfectly reasonable request!
8th May 2017 – Judge J. Verman REFUSES my Appeal. This is despite me providing lots of proof (unlike my Ex) of me financially supporting [daughter], and evidence of my daughter living with me. Judge J. Verman FAILED/REFUSED TO ALLOW ME TO QUESTION THE RESPONDENT(S), or to request Directions! Judge Verman’s DECISION NOTICE states that: “The tribunal [sole panel member Judge Verman] finds that the appellant [me] is not entitled to the Child Benefit because benefit has already been paid to another person for this period. The regulations prevent duplicate payments of Child Benefit.” [This is because HMRC/Child Benefit Office REPEATEDLY FAILED/REFUSED to strip my Ex of his entitlement to Child Benefit for this material period, and their incompetence is reinforced by the refusals/failures of Judge Keith Wilding & Judge Miss J. R. Beale to obtain my daughter’s mobile phone tracking data/records, which would have proven conclusively that my daughter went nowhere near her dad’s house for several weeks, and certainly wasn’t living there any more, but was instead at mine.] [Yet again, truly shocking & substandard decision making]
13th Aug 2017 – I thoroughly dissect, and heavily criticise Judge J. Verman’s STATEMENT OF REASONS, especially as some of her rationale is distinctly at odds with her reasoning in the earlier Child Benefit Appeal, though it inexplicably finds in [my Ex’s] favour again. So I formally request that her original Decision of the 8th of May 2017 is “Set Aside”, and that if the Decision is not “Set Aside”, that I also request permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal.
23rd Aug 2017 – Judge J. Verman issues a DECISION NOTICE, in which she REFUSES/FAILS to “Set Aside” her Decision of 8th May 2017, & also REFUSES/FAILS to grant me permission to Appeal to the Upper Tribunal. It reads:
- “It is not appropriate to review the decision because I am not satisfied there is any error of law in the Tribunal’s decision [sole panel member Judge J. Verman]. It is clear from reading the appellant’s letter [me] that she disagrees with the decision of the tribunal [sole panel member Judge J. Verman]. However it is also clear that the reasons she disagrees is because her view of the facts is different to that of the tribunal [sole panel member Judge J. Verman]. The sole decider of the facts is the tribunal [sole panel member Judge J. Verman] which has adequately explained why it has reached its decision.”
- “Permission to appeal [to the Upper Tribunal] is refused. No arguable question of law is disclosed by the application (for the reasons set out above).”
23rd Oct 2017 – Upper Tribunal Judge Kate Markus QC REFUSES/FAILS to “Set Aside” Judge J. Verman’s FTT Decision of 8th May 2017, & also REFUSES/FAILS to grant me permission to Appeal. [I subsequently appeal to the Royal Courts of Justice, for a Judicial Review].
20th Nov 2017 – My claim for a Judicial Review was issued by the Royal Courts of Justice today.
31st Jan 2018 – The Honourable Mrs Justice Lambert REFUSES me permission to apply for a Judicial Review for this Child Benefit Appeal.
- “The application does not raise an arguable case which has a reasonable prospect of success that both the decision of the Upper Tribunal refusing permission to appeal and the decision of the First Tier Tribunal against which permission to appeal was sought are wrong in law. The application does not raise an important point of principle or practice nor is there any compelling reason to hear the claim.
- For the reasons given by Judge Markus, the judge of the FTT [Judge Verman] was entitled to reach the conclusions on the disputed issues of fact before her. The Judge of the FTT [Judge Verman] set out the issues of factual dispute and the evidence which she heard concerning those disputes: that evidence included oral and documentary evidence from the Claimant on the points in dispute. She set out the reasons for her conclusions. There was no error in her approach. Furthermore, for the reasons set out in the decision of the Upper Tribunal refusing the application for permission to appeal, the Claimant would not, as a matter of law, be entitled to child benefit before 7th September 2015.
- The Claimant’s grounds include a claim that the FTT procedure was flawed in that documents were not in the bundle and the Claimant only gave evidence on matters which were not already dealt with sufficiently in the hearing bundle. It is clear however that the Claimant gave evidence on the relevant matters at the FTT. The application for the HMCTS to produce phone tracking data had been rejected many months before the hearing before the FTT. In any event for the reasons set out by the Judge [Kate Markus QC] of the Upper Tribunal, such evidence would not have assisted the Claimant.”
So, Judge Keith Wilding, & Judge Miss J. R. Beale, both REFUSE/FAIL to order the obtaining of my daughter’s mobile phone tracking data/records, which would have proven conclusively that my daughter went nowhere near her dad’s house for several weeks, and certainly wasn’t living there any more.
Then, Judge J. Verman FAILED/REFUSED TO ALLOW ME TO QUESTION THE RESPONDENT(S), or to request Directions! As well as evaluating the other evidence in a woefully substandard fashion.
Their consecutive failures were then judged to be actually quite okay by Upper Tribunal Judge Kate Markus QC, & then by The Honourable Mrs Justice Lambert.
The Independent Case Examiner UPHELD/JUSTIFIED many points:
A. since 2013, the Agency have failed to take timely and appropriate action to secure regular maintenance payments and collect outstanding arrears from the non-resident parent, [my Ex]; JUSTIFIED
I have been hugely proactive in my lengthy, detailed, and numerous interactions with the CSA. But in return, since 2013, the CSA have been chronically detrimental to me in all of their decision making, they are worse than useless. The CSA bend and flex entirely to the will of [my Ex].
[My Ex] has owed me arrears since 2013. This is despite numerous complaints from me over the years……