To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, when he plans to provide the option of hearings by video link for all appeal hearings in the Social Entitlement Chamber (First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support)).
25 June 2020
HM Courts & Tribunals Service is working hard to keep our justice system functioning during this unprecedented public health emergency. We are focusing on priority cases, changing working practices and introducing new procedures to minimise risks to the judiciary, staff and all those who use our courts and tribunals.
In line with government guidance, face to face hearings in the First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support) (SSCS) have been replaced with telephone hearings and the use of other remote hearing technology to facilitate as many hearings as possible being held remotely. All parties to the hearings are being contacted directly to confirm new hearing arrangements.
After a number of successful tests, arrangements are currently being made to introduce and make available Cloud Video Platform (CVP) hearings in all SSCS Tribunal regions. The decision as to how a hearing is conducted is a matter for the judge who will determine how best to uphold the interests of justice. In considering the suitability of video/audio, judges will consider issues such as the benefit type under appeal, the nature of the matters at stake during the hearing and any issues the use of video/audio technology may present for participants in the hearing.
The latest period for which official statistics about SSCS appeals are available is up to March 2020. Up until that time no SSCS hearings had taken place by video link due to Covid-19.