Tuesday 14th November 2017 – I Post My Application For Judicial Review of Child Benefit (2nd Claim/Appeal) to Royal Courts of Justice

Today, I posted my claim for a Judicial Review to the Royal Courts of Justice.  As usual, I have no legal help whatsoever. I wrote:

Judicial Review – My Grounds For Appeal etc…
(My Grounds, Directions, Statement of Facts, Supporting Documents, Remedies, & other Applications May Overlap – I‘ve got no legal assistance)

Dear Sir/Madam,

Section 4 – Permission to Proceed with a claim for Judicial Review
Article 6. Human Rights Act – The right to a fair Hearing.
I submit that Justice has not been served, that Upper Tribunal/Judge Kate Markus QC erred in law, & there were procedural errors, by failing to recognise that the FTT had erred in law, as FTT Judge Verman breached Article 6 of the Human Rights Act, by failing to ensure a fair Hearing.

At the FTT Hearing on 8th May 2017, Judge Verman said she only wanted to hear any additional evidence if it wasn’t already in the Appeal Bundle.
It wasn’t until towards the end of the Hearing that Judge Verman gave me any opportunity to ask questions. Up until then, Judge Verman hadn’t given me any opportunity to ask questions or request Directions. So I said there’s rather a lot I’d like to ask Mrs Checkley (HMRC‘s Representative), and I’d like to make a request for Directions. But Judge Verman said we’re coming to the closing submissions now, it’s too late, yet I wasn’t given any opportunity earlier!

Over the course of the last year and a half, I have requested Directions in advance of this FTT Hearing. Judge Verman, and some of the previous Judges involved with this case, have repeatedly refused to order many of the Directions I’ve requested. This resulted in strong evidence to support my claim not being made available for my Appeal.

I also began to say that [my Ex] has been able to see all of my evidence for this Appeal, but I have never got to see any of the evidence that [my Ex & his girlfriend] have submitted to HMRC for their Child Benefit claim. But Judge Verman interrupted me, she said she thinks she knows where this is going, and she prevented me from continuing!

Also, the Records Of Proceedings are largely unreadable, due to the Judges’ handwriting. HMCTS have failed to issue me with a typed word-for-word transcript that I’d requested. Upper Tribunal Judge Nicholas Wikeley has previously ordered/directed HMCTS to provide me with a word-for-word typed transcript, and “reported” that judgement in:

CB v HMRC and AE (CHB) [2016] UKUT 0506 (AAC). CF/3390/2015

Clearly the Upper Tribunal’s Decision of 23rd October 2017 is itself an error of law, as Judge Kate Markus QC failed to recognise that the FTT (Judge Verman) erred in law, with its Decision of 8th May 2017. It was a breach of the rules of natural justice, and it does not give proper findings of fact, and is a clear breach of Article 6 of the Human Rights Act – The right to a fair Hearing.

Section 5 – My Detailed Statement of Grounds
I request that the perverse Decision of the Upper Tribunal on 23rd October 2017 is Quashed. [And if possible, [my Ex] is stripped of his entitlement to ChB for the material period, and that I am awarded ChB for the material period].

I submit that Justice has not been served, that Upper Tribunal/Judge Kate Markus QC erred in law, & there were procedural errors, by failing to recognise that the FTT had erred in law, by:
a. FAILING to issue the DIRECTIONS that I’d requested since lodging this Appeal with HMCTS, which resulted in crucial documentation/evidence not being available for the FTT to consider. On an earlier date for this Appeal, when I attended Tribunal on 18th October 2016, Tribunal Judge Beale refused my request to obtain my daughter’s mobile phone tracking data, which would have proved that my daughter went nowhere near her father’s house for several weeks. It isn’t mentioned in the Decision Notice of 18/10/16, but it is mentioned in the Record of Proceedings for that date, though not everything is legible. [Please see attached]
b. FAILING to recognise that the Records Of Proceedings in the Appeal Bundle are not written in a clear and legible format for the Appellant (me). As you can see from the email I’ve attached, I specifically requested a typed word-for-word copy of the Record Of Proceedings on 9th June 2017, but I still haven’t received these from HMCTS! I have just raised a formal complaint with HMCTS, about their failure to ensure my earlier request was acted upon. [Please see attached]
c. FAILING to recognise that no reasonable Judge would have arrived at the perverse Decision of 8th May 2017, given the available evidence, and also considering the evidence that would have been produced if Judges had granted my earlier requests for DIRECTIONS.

d. FAILING to recognise that the FTT had erred in law, as FTT Judge Verman breached Article 6 of the Human Rights Act, by failing to ensure a fair Hearing.

At the FTT Hearing on 8th May 2017, Judge Verman said she only wanted to hear any additional evidence if it wasn’t already in the Appeal Bundle.
It wasn’t until towards the end of the Hearing that Judge Verman gave me any opportunity to ask questions. Up until then, Judge Verman hadn’t given me any opportunity to ask questions or request Directions. So I said there’s rather a lot I’d like to ask Mrs Checkley (HMRC‘s Representative), and I’d like to make a request for Directions. But Judge Verman said we’re coming to the closing submissions now, it’s too late, yet I wasn’t given any opportunity earlier!

Over the course of the last year and a half, I have requested Directions in advance of this FTT Hearing. Judge Verman, and some of the previous Judges involved with this case, have repeatedly refused to order many of the Directions I’ve requested. This resulted in strong evidence to support my claim not being made available for my Appeal.

I also began to say that [my Ex] has been able to see all of my evidence for this Appeal, but I have never got to see any of the evidence that [my Ex & his girlfriend] have submitted to HMRC for their Child Benefit claim. But Judge Verman interrupted me, she said she thinks she knows where this is going, and she prevented me from continuing!

e. FAILING to ensure fairness. I have never been added as a Party to an Appeal of  [my Ex]. I have repeatedly informed HMRC that my daughter resided with me from early June 2015. So why didn’t HMRC suspend [my Ex’s] own ChB claim, prompting him to either terminate his own claim, or progress it to HMCTS, and then add me as a Party to his Appeal?
Is there a specific law preventing this?
It concerns the same child (our daughter), for the same period.

f. I don’t know whether my daughter’s mobile phone records for the material period (early June 2015 to early September 2015) would still be obtainable now. They probably would have been obtainable if HMCTS had granted my earlier requests to Direct/Order that they be obtained.
I would like this Judicial Review to clarify whether the various FTT Judges ought to have granted my request for my daughter’s mobile phone tracking data to be obtained. It would have been relatively simple to do, and it would have proven my daughter’s movements for the material period. Instead, this case has dragged on and on……..
If the phone tracking data is no longer obtainable, due to the time that has elapsed, I would like this Judicial Review to clarify whether the FAILURE of HMCTS to obtain this resulted in me being deprived of justice, and to be compensated for the loss accordingly.

g. In point 3. Of Judge Kate Markus QC’s REASONS, she asserts that I had not identified any aspect of my case which I was unable to present.
I consider that Judge Kate Markus QC has erred in law here too, as she has failed to recognise that the FTT erred in law, by FAILING to allow me to question Mrs Checkley/[or my Ex], or to request Directions, or to put my case. It is clear that the FTT erred in law, by denying my right to a fair Hearing/Tribunal. FTT Judge Verman denied me the right to a fair Hearing/Tribunal, saying that it’s too late as it’s the closing submissions now!
It therefore matters not what I was unable to present, but that I was unable to present at all!

h. Please see attached my request for Set Aside of FTT Decision, proof that I’d been paying for my daughter’s Denplan, bus pass, mobile phone for the material period, her bank statements were sent to my house for the material period, my daughter’s college enrolment during material period, various Directions/Notices by various Judges, unreadable Records Of Proceedings.

Section 7 – Details of Remedy Being Sought

Main Point: I request that the Decision of 23rd October 2017 be Quashed, (and for a Judicial Review To award me Child Benefit for the period in question, if this is possible as part of the Judicial Review).

  • I would like this Judicial Review to clarify whether various Judges have been fair when refusing my requests to obtain my daughter’s mobile phone tracking data, for the material period.
  • If the JR concludes that it was reasonable of various Judges to refuse this request, then I would like the MOJ to reimburse me for the ChB payments and consequences that their Decisions have caused me to lose out on. Judge Beale reasoned that it was a small amount of money, so not justified in granting Direction. If it’s such an insignificant amount, the MOJ won’t mind coughing up.
  • If the JR concludes that it was not fair or reasonable of Judges to refuse to grant my request for Direction, then I request to be compensated for HMCTS’s/MOJ’s failure.
  • As a consequence of being made a Party to my Appeal, [my Ex] has been provided with a copy of the Appeal Bundle, which contains lots of information about my Child Benefit claim, in respect of our daughter. However, it is utterly bizarre, and manifestly unfair, that information from [my Ex’s] own Child Benefit claim, which covers this relevant period, is not made available to me or to HMCTS, despite it being for the same child, for the same period!
  • I would like the Judicial Review to clarify whether, under current rules, I ought to have been provided with a copy of  [my Ex’s] ChB claim for the relevant period, as he has been provided for mine. If there is a specific law prohibiting HMRC from providing information or documentation from the Respondent’s ChB claim [my Ex], when it concerns the same child for the same period as the Appellant’s ChB claim (me), then again, that law is lopsided, disadvantaging the Appellant, whilst advantaging the Respondent.
  • I therefore believe that if this is presently the law, then that law needs to be amended, so that the Respondent’s ChB claim is subject to the same scrutiny as the Appellant’s (my) claim.
  • I have made many requests for Directions from HMCTS, since lodging this Appeal. HMCTS have consistently failed to issue the reasonable Directions that I’d requested, meaning evidence wasn’t made available, which would otherwise have supported my claim.
  • I would like the Judicial Review to assess whether the Directions that I’d requested ought to have been granted/issued, and whether each Judge that refused my request for Directions was reasonable or unreasonable in doing so, and whether the chronic failure to issue the Directions I’d requested negatively affected the outcome of my Appeal.
  • I have never been added as a Party to an Appeal of [my Ex]. When I have repeatedly informed HMRC that my daughter lived with me from early June 2015. So why didn’t HMRC suspend [my Ex’s] own ChB claim, resulting in him either discontinuing his claim, or progressing it to HMCTS, and then add me as a Party to his Appeal? Is there a specific law preventing this? It concerns the same child (our daughter), for the same period. 

Damages (Financial)

Financial redress for enduring years of continued failure of HMRC and HMCTS in this case/claim, and the devastating impact it’s had on me, financially and healthwise. It has been a constant weight on my mind. I have spent more than 2 and a ½ years slogging away, interacting with HMRC, CSA, HMCTS, all because HMRC and HMCTS have FAILED to properly ascertain or enable me to gather conclusive evidence of my daughter’s living arrangements for the relevant period. Every time I have the mindset and energy to put my mind to something complex, such as my paperwork, it means less time spent doing something more constructive, or relaxing, being in the garden, etc… I have also incurred significant cost in terms of printer ink, stationary costs, postage (I send everything through post via “Signed For” service, (pretty much). I want to be financially recompensed for the loss of ChB, CSA maintenance, bedroom tax etc.. (I haven’t yet calculated amount, this could be done once Judicial Review has concluded).

Section 8 – Other Applications

1. May I please apply to extend the time limit for making this application, as I had to make a separate application for a different Judicial Review for: SC024/14/0***3.  I’ve also been submitting evidence for 5 x CSA Appeals which were listed for 31/10/17, but these were adjourned, in addition to actively Job seeking (part of my JSA claimant commitment), and being totally overwhelmed with everything I have to do, when not enjoying the best of health.

I’ve had to muddle my way through all of this on my own, without any legal assistance. I’ve expended considerable time & effort trying to obtain legal help:

  • I’ve been waiting for 1&½ years for assistance from Bar Pro Bono, but they still haven’t found anyone to assist me.
  • I phoned Royal Courts of Justice on 13/10/17, “Jennifer” advised me to phone Personal Support Unit on 0207 947 7701 (based at RC of J).
  • I phoned PSU at the RC of J on 13/10/17, “Elena” told me to try Birmingham’s PSU on 0121 250 6354.
  • I phoned Birmingham PSU on 13/10/17, “Charlotte” said I need to “drop in” for advice on filling in the Judicial Review claim form, 9:30am-4pm Monday to Friday, 6th Floor, Birmingham Civil Justice Centre.
  • On 16/10/17, I went to B’ham CJC (B’ham PSU) as they’d advised me to do. But “Emilia” said they don’t ever deal with Judicial Reviews! She couldn’t even help me fill the form in! I’d gone into Birmingham City Centre especially for this!
  • I rang Birmingham Settlement on 16/10/17, woman said they wouldn’t help me complete Judicial Review claim form, she said she couldn’t think where I can go for help!
  • I rang Birmingham FLAG (Free Legal Advice Group), I had to leave a message on the answer phone. I’d previously emailed B’ham Pro Bono’s Linden Thomas for help].
  • On 17/10/17, I rang CAB on 03444 111444, I spoke to “Kalindi”, then after ½ hr on phone she rang me back. She suggested I phone B’ham Community Law Centre. She also booked me a free 15 minute telephone appt with “Greens Solicitors” on Thurs 26/10/17 at 12:15pm.
  • On 17/10/17, I rang B’ham Community Law Centre on 227 6540, “Tessa” said I need to phone them at 9am on Tuesday morning, for possible appt that Thursday, as they have “limited capacity”!
  • I phoned Bar Pro Bono on 18/10/17, “Measha” said they’re still looking for someone to assist me.
  • On 19/10/17, “JoJo” rang me from 0121 678 1000 (B’ham FLAG), she said she’s “received instruction” that they’re unable to assist me!
  • I received no phone call from “Greens Solicitors” on 26/10/17. So at 12:37pm, I rang “Greens Solicitors” on 0121 233 2042. I was put through to “Sue”. I’d asked some ChB/CSA/Judicial Review questions, but “Sue” said she couldn’t help me, as they deal with Family Law! So another dead end. “Sue” had a quick look online, then she suggested NACSA on 01384 572 525.
  • I looked up NACSA online, but advice from them over the telephone costs £30 per month, or £100 for a 2hr consultation.

2. May I please be granted permission to apply for this Judicial Review.

3. I also wish to apply for protection from costs, or capped costs, or reduced costs/fees, or zero costs/fees (considering my circumstances).

4. May you also please extend the period to “Serve” documents, as Justice is not being served by the current Civil Procedure Rules.

5. I request that this Judicial Review clarifies whether the Civil Procedures Rules concerning deemed day of service is currently:
2 working days from the date on the letter (NB the date on the letter isn‘t always accurate, I‘ve occasionally received post before the date on a letter, and sometimes a long while afterwards!); or
2 working days from the date it is actually sent (ie enters the postal system of Royal Mail, or other providers).

  • On Thursday the 9th of November 2017, I received 3 x sealed copies, a notice, and a letter from the Royal Courts of Justice (in relation to my first claim for a Judicial Review, ref: CO/51**/2017). The letter was dated 6th November 2017. Three days is actually pretty good when compared with some of the timescales I’ve experienced from HMCTS, the DWP, or HMRC. However, this caused me quite a panic, and considerable stress. 
  • Firstly, the large envelope that contained the 3 x sealed copies, notice and accompanying letter had got damaged in the postal system, so it arrived encased in a clear plastic bag to preserve the contents, courtesy of Royal Mail. It contained a total of about 200 sheets of A4 paper, which then rattled around in the large envelope until it split, it is fortunate that I received them at all.
  • Secondly, the letter stated that “service must be effected within 7 days of the date of this letter”. The letter was dated the 6th of November 2017. I received it on Thursday 9th November 2017.
  • I then had to go online to learn how to serve a document, and print off 3 x Certificates of Service. [This is a whole new ball game to me.]
  • As the letter was dated the 6th of November 2017, and the Civil Procedure Rules deem the day of service to be 2 business days after sending at item 1st class, then that meant I had to get the 3 x sealed copies posted the same day (Thursday 9th Nov 2017) as I’d received them!
  • What if I had been out, and not been able to post the 3 x sealed copies + notices to the Defendant and 2 x Interested Parties before the post office closed for the day?
  • What if I hadn’t received the 3 x sealed copies, notice and letter until after the latest date to “serve”?
  • I had to make two separate journeys to the post office on Thursday 9th November 2017. It was a rush! First I had to address each sealed copy and copy of notice to the Defendant (Upper Tribunal), and each Interested Party (HMRC, & my Ex]. I then made my first journey to the post office, to get these sent off. Then I went back home to complete the 3 x Certificates of Service. Once I’d completed these, I had to go to post office for a second time, as these also had to be served/lodged with the Royal Courts of Justice within 7 days of the letter, which meant I had to post them today!
  • Is it really satisfactory, to consider an item to have been served, merely on the say-so of an individual, without any actual proof of posting? I don’t believe this is adequate.
  • What happens if a person completes a Certificate of Service, falsely? Either not sending anything, or not sending it on the date specified? Or not serving it in person, or by other permitted method?
  • Or, is it automatically presumed that everyone who completes and lodges a Certificate of Service is always telling the truth? (Hmmm……)
  • I have experienced various shenanigans with [my Ex]  (Interested Party) over the years, from him putting an empty envelope through my letterbox, to him failing to collect items I’d sent him via Royal Mail’s Recorded Delivery, which he’d subsequently failed to collect from the delivery office. I therefore request that the Royal Courts of Justice notifies me of anything they receive, when it comes in, (a quick email will suffice). 
  • I find it’s perverse to automatically deem an item/document to be “served” two business days after posting, when this frequently isn’t the case. Especially when no proof of posting has been obtained from Royal Mail (or other carrier), and there’s no proof of delivery/receipt either.
  • There are other methods of service, such as email, but I wouldn’t want to open an email from an untrusted source (ie [my Ex], or person unknown).
  • Even if an item is sent via Royal Mail’s “Signed For” service, it frequently doesn’t arrive! (Please see attached for some recent evidence of this). It is perverse, that even when an item is sent via this 1st class service, it is considered as “served”, even if it doesn’t ever actually get delivered.
  • What if the completed Certificates of Service that I’d posted on 9/11/17 to the RC of J hadn’t been received by the RC of J within the 7 days, even though the CPR deems them to have been served, as I’d posted them 1st class on 9/11/17?
  • On Wednesday 8th November 2017, I received an item from HMRC which was dated 30th October 2017. This took 8 days to reach me, going from the date on the letter. 
  • One item from HMCTS took 4 weeks to reach me last year. I complained to HMCTS about this, and Royal Mail.
  • It is actually pretty normal for me to receive items a week or more after the date on the letter, from the DWP, HMRC, HMCTS.
  • I have printed off a copy of some of Royal Mail’s rules, which confirms that senders of mail are not able to request that their items are delivered to the intended recipient only! Shocking!!!
  • The Civil Procedures Rules concerning deemed day of service need to be overhauled.
  • If the Judicial Review is unable to grant/approve my Appeal on the existing evidence, I request that the Judicial Review/Court issues the Directions that previous Judges have refused to grant.
  • Please Order/Direct HMCTS to provide me with word-for-word typed transcript of the Records of Proceedings for this case/appeal. I ought to be able to read them.

Section 9 – Statement of Facts Relied On

Please refer to all of the points listed on my JR claim form, the evidence n the supporting documents, and above, and below.

Section 10 – Supporting Documents

JR1-8    My Grounds for Appeal, Directions, Statement of Facts, Supporting Documents, Remedies, & other Applications, etc…[They may overlap].
JR9-10    Tesco mobile phone order contract I was paying for
 [daughter].
JR11    Tesco mobile phone insurance I was paying on [daughter’s] phone for duration.
JR12-16
    [Daughter’s] Barclays Banks statements to my address.
JR17    Denplan Fees for that period.
JR18-23    Bus passes evidence to my address each month, proof of my Direct Debit.
JR24-25  
  [Daughter’s] college enrolment/learning agreement dated 27/8/15, confirming [daughter] was already living with me on that date.
JR26    Letter dated 23rd Sept 2015 that
 [my son] had written, confirming [daughter] had lived with us since early June 2015.
JR27-28    Letter that my next door neighbours had written/signed, confirming
 [daughter] had lived here for material period.
JR29-31   Two pages of FACTS dated 23rd Sept 2015. Also Cast iron proof paragraph.
JR32-34   Email dated 1st Feb 2016 to HMCTS – requesting Directions including the obtaining of
 [daughter’s] mobile phone tracking data.
JR35    FTT Judge Keith Wilding’s Directions Notice, refusing to grant the Directions I’d requested (including mobile phone tracking data).
JR36     Email to HMCTS sent on 30/6/16, containing new evidence.
JR37-42    Judge Beale’s Record of Proceedings (dated 18/10/16), difficult to read, but can see bit where she refuses my request to obtain
 [daughter’s] mobile phone tracking data, on the grounds of proportionality. The Adjournment Notice for 18/10/16 doesn’t mention my request, despite it being in the Record of Proceedings. 

JR43    FTT Judge Verman’s Decision Notice dated 11/5/17 (for ChB 2nd FTT on 8/5/17).
JR44-48    FTT Judge Verman’s Statement of Reasons For Decision (dated 10/7/17).
JR49-53    My 13/08/17 detailed request to Set Aside Decision of FTT on 8/5/17, & also requesting permission to appeal to UTO.
JR54   FTT Judge Verman’s Decision Notice (dated 23/8/17), refusing to Set Aside 8/5/17 Decsion, and refusing permission to appeal to UTO.
JR55    Part of my reasons for Appeal, that I sent to UTO on 20th Sept 2017.
JR56-59   Upper Tribunal Judge Kate Markus QC’s Decision signed on 23/10/17. Refusing me permission to appeal.
JR60-65  Just some of the more recent examples of failure of Royal Mail to deliver items, which had been sent via their “Signed For” service. I’ve got loads of examples of their failure.

JR66-67   Formal Complaint I sent to HMCTS Birmingham, about their failure to provide me with a word-for-word typed transcript of the Records of Proceedings for this ChB appeal.
JR68   Civil Procedures Rules – “Deemed day of service”.
JR69-71   Some of Royal Mail’s rules, printed straight off their website.
JR72   Copy of letter dated 6th Nov 2017, which I received on 9th Nov 2017 (relating to ChB 1st Appeal).
JR73   Scanned copy of the plastic bag that contained the damaged envelope from Royal Courts of Justice.
JR74   Copy of letter [daughter] wrote on 30/6/16, in which she confirms she lived at my house for this material period.

Yours Sincerely”

 

About slowlyrotting

I am constantly having to deal with several different benefits issues. I've got Appeals and Tribunals coming out of my ears, and have pretty much lost any faith I ever had in the British Justice/Tribunals system. I've lost count of the formal complaints I've had to make. I've had numerous interactions with the DWP, HMRC, Birmingham City Council, etc for years, so I've literally got several hundred posts (maybe thousands) to compose for this website. I can't post them to here as quick or as often as I'd like to, for a variety of reasons. Over the last few years, I have endured a conveyor belt of shit decisions from HMCTS. The piss-poor postal services that HMCTS, HMRC, Birmingham City Council, the DWP, & CSA rely on (bulk printing and several different carriers), compound the ineptitude of these departments and agencies. I intend to go back years, eventually. But at this rate, I don't think I'll ever get to post everything I want to. You can see from what I've put up so far that I've got a lot of crap to deal with. I'm probably not even 1% or 2% done. I am slowly rotting....................
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