Hutton v Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority [2016] EWCA Civ 1305

The Court of Appeal set out the approach to be taken when considering an appeal from the decision of CICA in relation to a decision not to waive the time limit in the Scheme with respect to a claim which had been brought 40 years out of time. The FTT upheld the decision; but the UT allowed an appeal on the basis that the FTT had erred in its approach to the question of whether the deceased ex-partner (who had brought the claim) was a qualifying claimant under the Scheme; the approach to the deceased’s conduct had been inconsistent; and the tribunal had engaged in ‘speculation without evidence’ on when the deceased’s children had sufficient information to bring a claim.

Held:

• The court had to exercise restraint and proceed with caution before interfering with decisions of specialist tribunals. It was important to identify the tribunal of fact, to keep in mind that it had heard the evidence, and to respect its decisions. When determining whether a question was one of fact or law, the court should have regard to context, so as to ensure both that decisions of tribunals of fact were given proper weight and to provide scope for specialist appellate tribunals to shape the development of law and practice in their field, AH (Sudan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2007] UKHL 49, [2008] 1 A.C. 678 and R. (on the application of Jones) v First-tier Tribunal (Social Entitlement Chamber) [2013] UKSC 19, [2013] 2 A.C. 48 applied.

• The tribunal and not the UT was the tribunal of fact in the instant case. The UT’s jurisdiction was limited to one of judicially reviewing the tribunal’s decision. The UT had no jurisdiction to interfere with the tribunal’s decision, absent a public law error. The instant case was not one calling for guidance from the UT to shape the development of law and practice in respect of claims under the scheme. It followed that in classifying issues before the tribunal as those of fact or law, questions of context could have, at most, only very limited bearing

• The UT decision was untenable and could not stand.

January 28, 2017 · Editorial Team · Comments Closed
Posted in: Cases