ESA Tribunal: attention to detail and expert legal knowledge win appeal

Legal aid is no longer available for welfare benefit cases, so many people are having difficulties in obtaining the right legal advice to help them fight unfair Employment Support Allowance (ESA) decisions. This case study shows how one leading specialist lawyer was engaged by a man who needed the highest calibre of help to win his appeal.

Mr N (who wishes to remain anonymous) had his ESA claim rejected because it was ruled that he did not have limited capacity for work and so was not entitled to claim ESA. Given his many illnesses he appealed the decision to the Tribunal, but knew he required the very best legal advice if he was to win his appeal.

Thanks to the expertise of his specialist solicitor, Prakash Ruparelia, Mr N soon proved that he has limited capability for work and is entitled to ESA.

Mr N, aged 46, had contacted national law firm Scott-Moncrieff where Prakash Ruparelia represents many people in the same position as him.

Mr N says: “Prakash was the most caring, professional and brilliant solicitor I have ever dealt with. He took on my case and responded very speedily and very cleverly. The fact he won it quickly is testament to his commitment and skill.”

Prakash says: “My argument for Mr N was that he scored sufficient points under the work capability assessment to require ESA. Like many of the people we represent at Scott-Moncrieff, Mr N suffers a variety of illnesses and we had to ensure the decision-makers fully understood how these affected him. We knew he had a strong case and we put it together very carefully for him.”

When appealing decisions against the DWP, Scott-Moncrieff represents people who have a variety of illnesses, all of which mean they could qualify for the Employment Support Allowance. These include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Vertigo
  • Chronic neck and back pain
  • Dizziness and drowsiness
  • Incontinence
  • Musculoskeletal problems
  • Neurological issues
  • Mental health problems
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Abdominal pain

“Mr N had been assessed by a health care professional who decided that he scored nil points for the physical health descriptors and for the mental health descriptors,” says Prakash. “I knew this was wrong and was determined to fight on his behalf.

“The fact that Mr N suffers from a chronic back and neck condition, vertigo and depression should have been taken into account from the outset.

“So we asked the Tribunal to consider the reports from the experts who gave their opinions as to his health and capabilities. We argued successfully that the medical service professional and the Decision-Maker failed to assess Mr N’s true difficulties and discomfort in performing the tests required.

“We won and Mr N had his benefits reinstated.”