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Pensions Appeal Tribunals

What we do

War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation

This Tribunal hears appeals from ex-servicemen or women who have had their claims for a War Pension rejected by the Secretary of State for Defence. Its jurisdiction covers Northern Ireland. The Tribunal is independent from the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency. Hearings have been in existence, as part of the Lord Chancellor’s responsibility, since the War Pensions Act 1919.

The War Pensions Scheme started in 1918 and continues in respect of injuries that occurred before 5 April 2005. For injuries after 5 April 2005 a new Scheme, the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme applies. The Tribunal deals with appeals for both Schemes.

The War Pensions Scheme

  • Whether a person is entitled to a War Pension;
  • The percentage at which the War Pensions Agency has assessed a person’s disablement; or
  • Whether a person are entitled to an allowance e.g. for mobility needs.

Or

The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme

  • Whether a person is entitled to an award; or
  • The amount of the award.

For further information please click here to open the booklet "The Work of the Pensions Appeal Tribunal"

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What if I disagree

If you think the Pensions Appeal Tribunal decision was wrong on a point of law you may appeal but the next steps in the procedure may vary slightly depending on which decision you wish to appeal.

If you wish to appeal a decision under the Armed Force Compensation scheme i.e. in respect of an injury sustained after 5 April 2005 you may appeal to the Pensions Appeal Commissioners.

If it is an Entitlement or Specified Decision under the War Pensions Scheme i.e. in respect of an injury sustained pre 5 April 2005 any appeal will also be to the Pensions Appeal Commissioners.

Should however you wish to appeal an assessment decision under the War Pensions Scheme in respect of an injury before 5 April 2005 you may appeal to the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber).

In all cases however you must first apply in writing to the Tribunal Chairman for leave (permission) to appeal and set out why you think the tribunal was wrong on a point of law.

If the tribunal refuses you permission you may apply directly to the Pensions Appeal Commissioner or Upper Tribunal as appropriate. Use this link for to obtain an electronic version of the PAC1 form (PDF) to be used for applying to the Pensions Appeal Commissioners use this link for to obtain an electronic version of the UTNI1 form to be used for applying to the Upper Tribunal (PDF)

If the tribunal grants you permission to appeal, these forms can be used to explain to the Commissioners or Upper Tribunal your grounds for appeal. Use this link for guidance on completing the PAC1 form (PDF) and click here for guidance on completing the UTNI 1 form (PDF).

It should be noted that staff in the Pensions Appeal Tribunal can help you by explaining the process to you but can not give you legal advice.

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FAQ's

What are Pensions Appeal Tribunals?

These Tribunals deal with appeals against certain decisions the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency have made on War Disablement Pensions.  A Tribunal normally consists of three members – a qualified lawyer, a qualified medical practitioner and a member who served in the armed forces.  It is independent of the Government and, in particular, the Ministry of Defence.  The law about rights to appeal is set out in the Pensions Appeal Tribunals Acts 1943 and 1949 (as amended), known as ‘the Acts’ and in the Armed Forces (Pensions and compensation) Act 2004.  You can appeal to the Tribunal against certain decisions taken by the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency.  The decisions you can appeal against are set out in the Acts.

In general terms, Pensions Appeal Tribunals hear appeals under both the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and the War Pensions Scheme. The War Pensions Scheme has three main types of appeals- “entitlement appeals”, “assessment appeals” and “specified decision appeals’'.

What is an entitlement appeal?

An entitlement appeal is concerned with whether a person qualifies for a pension.  For example, an entitlement appeal might decide whether or not your (or your late husband’s or wife’s) medical condition was caused, or made worse, by service in the armed forces for the merchant navy.

What is an assessment appeal?

An assessment appeal is about the percentage of disablement caused or made worse by service.  This affects the amount, if any, of War Disablement Pension which might be paid but the Pensions Appeal Tribunal does not itself make decisions about the amount of money to be paid.

What is a specified decision appeal?

A specified decision appeal is concerned with entitlement to various allowances, supplements, extra pensions, awards, expenses, maintenance, deductions and payments.  In this leaflet we cannot set out every specified decision, but a complete list is given in the Pensions appeal Tribunals (Additional Rights of Appeal) Regulations 2001 (S.I.2001 No. 1031).

Copies of this Regulation can be bought from:
The Stationery Office (www.tso.co.uk/bookshop);
Phone 028 9089 5133
Or found on the internet at:
www.hmso.gov.uk/legislation

How do I approach my hearing?

It is important to keep clearly in mind the issues which the Tribunal has to decide and, when appealing, to base your evidence and arguments on the appeal around those issues.  For example, in an assessment appeal, the Tribunal can only consider disablement which comes from conditions caused or made worse by service.  Evidence and arguments should therefore be concerned with that disablement alone.

How can I prepare for my hearing?

It is important to be prepared for your hearing as this will avoid the need for unnecessary adjournments. Do your best to consider what evidence you want to bring to the tribunals attention and send copies of any extra documents you want them to see, to our office well in advance of any hearing.

Do I need more medical evidence?

If you think that the medical evidence in the papers does not adequately reflect your condition you may, at your own expense, obtain any extra medical reports that you want. However this should be organised by you at an early stage. The tribunal may not agree to adjourn a hearing to get such a report, so if you intend to get more medical evidence you should organise it as soon as possible and before a hearing date is given to you.

What papers will the Appeal Tribunal have?

The Appeal Tribunal will have a copy of the papers that have been sent to you.

Do I have to pay any money to the Pensions Appeal Tribunal?

No.

What should I do if I have missed a time limit?

Do not delay any further. Submit all the documents and evidence you have to hand and explain any reasons for the delay.

What will happen if I win my appeal?

After your appeal the Tribunal will send you a written decision.

Where will my appeal be heard?

Most appeals will be heard at
3rd Floor
Bedford House
16-22 Bedford Street
Belfast
BT2 7FD

Occasionally appeals are heard in other places, for example the Courthouses in Londonderry or Magherafelt.

However it is likely that your appeal can take place sooner if you can come to Bedford House.

Will I be medically examined?

In certain appeals, the medical member of the Tribunal may wish to examine you but only with your permission.  There are facilities to carry out these examinations in private at the above-mentioned buildings.

Do I need a representative?

You can conduct your appeal yourself, or any other person can appear for you.  Even if you want to conduct your own appeal, you can still bring a friend to the hearing with you.  If you are a member of an ex-service association, a trade union or other organisation, or if you want a solicitor to represent you, get in touch with that organisation or person as soon as possible.  You may wish to ask them about any charges you would have to pay.
The Pensions Department of the Royal British Legion (RBL) provide free advice, help and representation at Tribunals.  You can contact the RBL at:

War Pensions and Compensation Service
The Royal British Legion
199 Borough High Street
LONDON
SE1 1AA

Phone: 020 3207 2164/2168/2154

Even if you have a representative the Tribunal may want to ask you questions, so it is often helpful to the Tribunal for you to attend in person.

Where can I get more information about my appeal?

If you want any information about your appeal, you may phone or write to the Secretary at the Pensions Appeal Tribunals Office in Belfast.  The address is given below.

What if I want to withdraw my appeal?

If you decide to withdraw your appeal, you should get in touch with the Secretary at the Pensions Appeal Tribunals Office as soon as possible, and ask them to send you a withdrawal form.

Am I entitled to any expenses when attending a hearing of my appeal?

You are entitled to necessary costs for travelling.  In certain circumstances you may also be able to claim for a meal allowance and/or loss of earnings.  Full details of the expenses you might be entitled to are set out on the back of the ‘Tribunal Attendance – Appellant Claim for Expenses’ form which you will receive along with the ‘Tribunal Hearing Notice’ of your appeal.  Any money due for expenses will be sent to you by cheque within a few weeks of the hearing.

What if I need someone to travel with me?

If you are too ill to travel alone, someone can accompany you to the Tribunal (an attendance).  If you want to claim expenses for that person, please contact the office who will explain what you need to do.

At the hearing, the attendant can then complete the appropriate form to claim his or her expenses.

What if I am too ill to go to the Tribunal?

If you know that illness will prevent you from going to a Tribunal, tell the Secretary at the Pensions Appeal Tribunals Office as soon as possible.  In this case you should ask your doctor to complete the medical certificate found at the bottom of the ‘Tribunal Hearing Notice’.

If you will probably be able to attend reasonably soon, send the Secretary a letter asking for another date for your appeal hearing.  Send your letter and completed medical certificate to the Pensions Appeal Tribunals Office.

If you are not likely to be able to attend in the reasonably near future, the appeal can be heard without you.  If you would like to be present, but are unlikely to be well enough to travel in the reasonably near future, you may ask the Tribunal to visit you to consider your case.  If you want the Tribunal to consider a request to visit your home, you should write a letter to the Secretary at the Pensions Appeal Tribunals Office, setting out why you want to have a visit and why you cannot travel to the hearing of your appeal.  This should be accompanied by the completed medical certificate found at the bottom of the ‘Tribunal Hearing Notice’.  This certificate must be completed by your doctor.  If the Tribunal agrees to visit you, the visit will be arranged for a later date.  The medical member of the Tribunal may want to examine you (with your permission) during the visit.

However it is likely that you appeal will be dealt with much more quickly if you attend the Tribunal hearing.  Making arrangements to visit your home can cause considerable delay.

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Addresses of the Tribunal Offices

It should be noted that staff in the Pensions Appeal Tribunal can help you by explaining the process to you but cannot give you legal advice.

Northern Ireland
Pensions Appeal Tribunals

3rd Floor
Bedford House
16 – 22 Bedford Street
Belfast BT2 7FD

Tel:  028 9072 4886
Fax: 028 9031 3510

Email: tribunalsunit@courtsni.gsi.gov.uk


(This office normally deals with cases concerning people who live in Northern Ireland).

The address of the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency is:

Service Personnel and Veterans Agency
Norcross
Blackpool
FY5 3WP

Phone: 01253 858858

(The Service Personnel and Veterans Agency is involved in all Pensions Appeal cases, not only those involving people who live in Northern Ireland).

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The following links are intended as a starting point for obtaining information about the law involved in War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation cases. Claimants are reminded that they can seek help and representation from a number of sources. There are links to some of those organisations below.

Copies of any specific decision by a Commissioner can be obtained on request from this office.

Case Law

Department for Social Development NI. The benefit law section of this site is maintained by the Decision Making Services Unit of the Dept for Social Development and contains decisions, both reported and unreported, of the Northern Ireland Commissioners.  www.dsdni.gov.uk

The Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals). This is the site maintained by the UK Tribunals Service and contains many decisions of the Upper Tribunal and of its predecessors the GB Commissioners.  www.administrativeappeals.tribunals.gov.uk/index.htm

British and Irish Legal Information Institute. This is a site giving free access to a range of case law and legislation.  http://www.bailii.org/

Legislation

The Office of Public Sector Information
http://www.opsi.gov.uk/

UK Legislation
www.opsi.gov.uk/legislation/uk

Northern Ireland Legislation
www.opsi.gov.uk/legislation/northernireland/ni_legislation

Useful Sites

Ministry of Justice
http://www.justice.gov.uk/

Service Personnel and Veterans Agency
www.veterans-uk.info/index.html

Advice

The Royal British Legion
www.britishlegion.org.uk/

The Soldiers Sailors Airmen and families Association
www.ssafa.org.uk/

Law Centre (NI):
http://www.lawcentreni.org/

Combat Stress
http://www.combatstress.org.uk/

BLESMA (British Limbless Ex-Servicemen’s Association)
http://www.blesma.org/

Royal Air Force Association
http://www.rafa.org.uk/

Northern Ireland Association of Citizens Advice Bureau
http://www.citizensadvice.co.uk/

National Gulf Veterans and Families Association
www.ngvfa.org

Rights Net:
http://www.rightsnet.org.uk/

European Union

E.U. Legislation & Materials:
www.eur-lex.europa.eu./en/index.htm

European Court of Justice:
www.curia.eu./jcms/jcms/j_6/home

Human Rights

European Court of Human Rights:
http://www.echr.coe.int/

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