Claim – claimant relying on a decision of the Court of Appeal – whether tribunal bound by section 68 of the Social Security Administration Act 1992
On 2 December 1992, the Court of Appeal held in Cottingham and Geary v. Chief Adjudication Officer and Secretary of State for Social Security (reported as R(P) 1/93) that occupational pensions did not qualify as ‘earnings’ for the purposes of calculating a claimant’s entitlement to an increase of benefit in respect of a dependant. On 5 December 1992, legislation reversed that decision. On 16 March 1993, the claimant claimed an increase of invalidity pension in respect of his wife who was in receipt of an occupational pension which, if treated as earnings, would have had the effect that the increase was not payable. The adjudication officer decided that the claimant was entitled to the increase only from 2 December 1992 to 4 December 1992, on the basis that the occupational pension prevented payment under the new legislation from 5 December 1992 and that payment before the date of the Court of Appeal’s decision was precluded by section 68 of the Social Security Administration Act 1992. Section 68 provided that, where a court had found a decision of an adjudication officer to have been erroneous in point of law and a claim in another case would, apart from section 68, have fallen to be determined in accordance with the decision of the court, entitlement in respect of a period before the date of the decision of the court should be determined as thought the court had not found the adjudication officer to have erred in law. The claimant appealed to a tribunal who considered that, as an appellate body, they were not bound by section 68 and awarded the increase from a date before 2 December 1992. The adjudication officer appealed.
Held, allowing the appeal, that:
the House of Lords’ decision in Bate v. Chief Adjudication Officer (reported as R(IS) 12/96) applied to section 68 (claims) as it applied to section 69 (reviews) and therefore, when section 68 restricted the power of an adjudication officer to award benefit, it equally restricted the power of a tribunal to award benefit on appeal from that adjudication officer;
the Court of Appeal in Cottingham and Geary had indirectly found erroneous in law the adjudication officers’ decisions refusing benefit in the cases before them and section 68 therefore operated in the present case to prevent the increase of invalidity pension being awarded before the date of the Court of Appeal’s decisio
 UKSSCSC CS – 184 – 1994
Updated: 15 July 2022; Ref: scu.269051