PIP judicial review: Court rules against us but vindicates our case

Scales of justice

We lost. The judge ruled that in the end the consultation process for PIP was not unfair.

However that is not the whole story. You see, the judge found that it was the second consultation that made things right. The first consultation, he had some harsher words for. Words such as:

“Unfortunately mind-bogglingly opaque.” (Paragraph 105 part ii)
“At best ambivalent” (Paragraph 105 part vii)
“Convoluted, inherently unclear, ambiguous and confusing.  No construction allows for full coherence.” (Paragraph 106)

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the way the government chose to do things, I think you’ll agree.  The government’s legal team also agreed, and in fact they have accepted that they must share a portion of the costs of this judicial review in the face of evidence that it was indeed justified.

Not only that, but the government made it perfectly clear that they know exactly how much their policies will hurt people but want to do it anyway.

“… [T]his was recognised from the outset.  In developing the PIP assessment we were aware that the vast majority of recipients of DLA were individuals with genuine health conditions and disabilities and genuine need, and that removing or reducing that benefit may affect their daily lives.  However, we believe that these impacts can be justified as being a logical result of distributing limited resources in a different and more sustainable way…”.
(Paragraph 80)

Let’s see that again:

we were aware that the vast majority of recipients of DLA were individuals with genuine health conditions and disabilities and genuine need, and that removing or reducing that benefit may affect their daily lives.”

And again:

“genuine need”

So we have the government’s lawyers arguing that the DWP and the government ministers know full well that they are removing vital support from hundreds of thousands of people who have few other options and who will suffer as a result. And they are doing it to save money.

The judge agreed with the DWP that taking money from physically disabled people to allocate to other PIP claimants achieves “substantive equality between physically and non-physically disabled.” I argue that this has reduced the equality of physically disabled people compared to not-yet-disabled people, purely because of budget.

This is Lowest common denominator equality.

This is your government. This is what the society that we live in is prepared to accept.

The court’s findings and what’s next

The judge was persuaded by Dr Bolton’s evidence that the government could have changed their decision had they decided to listen to the overwhelming opposition to the 20m rule in the second consultation, and so it was not unfair. My legal team and I disagree. We still argue that the decision had long since been made and that the secretary of state had a closed mind by this point, and so the second consultation was not at a formative stage.

Although the judgment went against us I feel that the judge’s analysis of the first consultation is vindication for our bringing this case to court. Don’t forget that the second consultation only came about after this case was given permission to proceed and the DWP realised that they could not get away with such a shambles.

I hope that the admission by the government that they know exactly what they are doing will make people wake up to what is happening. Meanwhile, this is not the end. The legal team and I are considering our options to appeal this result.

Press Release from Public Law Solicitors

PIP Consultation Judicial Review Press Release

Read the full judgment

PIP consultation judicial review starts today

Two weeks until PIP Judicial Review – 20 metre limit in the dock

Replacement of disability living allowance headline news for hours

Why I am suing the government

Author: Latentexistence

The world is broken and I can't fix it because I am broken. I can, however, rant about it all and this is where I do that when I can get my thoughts together. Most of the time you'll find my words on Twitter rather than here though. I sometimes write for Where's The Benefit too.

10 thoughts on “PIP judicial review: Court rules against us but vindicates our case”

  1. That admission about the intention/expectation behind PIP should be quoted in a submission to UNCRPD, because it sounds an awful lot like intentional retrogression of convention rights, to me. Not actionable in domestic court, but a clear case of the Government flouting treaty obligations.

    1. Under the convention, that can only occur after all legal recourse has been exhausted through the UK and European courts.

      Its worth writing to your own MP about the nature of the DWP argument here. I shall be.

      1. Or if you can demonstrate that such recourse has no realistic prospect of success.

        But that’s about individual complaints, not about reporting that country as doing something bad for the regular reporting cycle.

  2. So just because they permitted a woolly 2nd consultation the judge deems the 20 metre descriptor to be fair, ignoring overwhelming advice from a doctor and the opinions of the disabled community. I agree that the decision had long since been made, but announced in Dec 2012 knowing that the roll out of PIP would be delayed, especially for existing DLA recipients to ensure the financial savings that this assessment has been framed around.

  3. I have friends that will now have to give up work – they can walk more than 20m but less than 50m – they have motability cars which will now be taken from them – how’s that equality? If those who do not meet the criteria but did beforehand, due to them being able to walk less than 50m, have cars and jobs then how the hell are they going to be able to afford a car? Afford to pay for taxis? They can’t use public transport whereas non-disabled people can – so in effect, these people are being punished and discriminated against.
    I find the difference between DLA and PIP to be unfair, discriminatory and against the wishes of the people who objected to it.
    I do know one thing though, if Scotland becomes Independent then they are dropping PIP immediately – doesn’t that tell you something?

  4. Thanks for this, and for everything related to this court case, which I have not been following up to now. Even just having on record the fact that they were aware of the facts is a substantial achievement.

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