Today, I formally requested that HMCTS “Sets Aside” Judge Miss J. R. Beale’s DECISION NOTICE of 12/10/17, in respect of my Employment & Support Allowance claim/appeal (6th ESA).
” ESA Appeal
Please “Set Aside” Tribunal Judge J. Beale’s DIRECTION NOTICE of 12/10/17
& Instead Direct An All-Female Tribunal Panel + Clerk + Presenting Officer
Firstly, I must complain about length of time that this item took to reach me.
- The DECISION NOTICE was dated the 12th October 2017.
- It was issued to the Parties (me) on 25th October 2017.
- But I didn’t receive it until 31st October 2017.
Lately, a lot of the post has taken several days to reach me. Timescales usually vary hugely. Sometimes within 1 or 2 days. Other times longer.
Tribunal Judge J. Beale feels that I would be able to properly present my PIP & ESA Appeals if at least one of the Tribunal members is female, and she has SET ASIDE the earlier DIRECTION in my PIP Appeal (which directed an all female panel, clerk, & presenting officer).
It isn’t the quantity of females that is the issue for me. It is the fact that I get very embarrassed discussing certain aspects of my health in front of men. This was one of the reasons I found my first PIP Tribunal 2 years ago particularly stressful/embarrassing, as one panel member was male, and the clerk was male too. Not all women feel comfortable discussing their health either with, or in front of, men.
Naturally, I completely understand that some men might find it easier discussing their problems in front of other men. We’re all different, unique.
The PIP Tribunal 2 years ago was an unpleasant ordeal for another reason too. The Judge on that day (Judge Ramsay, female), and Mr McTigue both looked away with disdain/incredulity as I gave some of my answers, making me feel even more uncomfortable, though they didn’t verbalise their disdain for me. The clerk’s behaviour was perfectly fine – but I was embarrassed because he was male, and I was discussing health issues.
The only panel member that behaved with total professionalism and kindness at that PIP Tribunal 2 years ago was the doctor (female).
I was less anxious when I attended the PIP Tribunal on 13/10/2016, as it had been confirmed to me in advance that it would be an all-female panel + clerk + presenting officer. It was adjourned to obtain medical records, and give me more time to prepare.
I was hugely relieved when Judge K.L. Emery (female) thoughtfully agreed to my request for an all-female panel + clerk + presenting officer at the next hearing.
As for causing a delay in getting my ESA (& PIP) Appeals heard, I wouldn’t be able to prepare for one at the moment anyway.
This is because I’ve had to prioritise other Tribunal work for the last few months, in addition to actively job searching and other pressing issues. There is literally only so much that any one person, that isn’t legally trained, can do.
I appreciate the point that Tribunal Judge J. Beale expresses, namely to avoid delay. But Justice will not be served if I’m having to work on so many appeals simultaneously. I have got bookcases and boxes full of paperwork. I do what I can everyday. I don’t envisage being ready for any PIP or ESA Tribunal hearing within the next couple of months, as I’ve been prioritising other appeals, that have already been heard at FTT.
But when the ESA (& PIP) Appeals are eventually heard, I reiterate my need for an all-female panel + clerk+ presenting officer.
I therefore request that Tribunal Judge J. Beale’s DIRECTION NOTICE (dated 12/10/17, issued 25/10/17, received on 1/11/17) is SET ASIDE, and instead my need/request for an all-female Tribunal pane l+ clerk + presenting officer is granted.”