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Appeal Tribunals (Costs)

Volume 19: debated on Friday 12 March 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what evidence he has that people are deterred from appealing to tribunals because they are told in a letter informing them of their right to an appeal that the Secretary of State has power to award costs against either party when an oral hearing is arranged.

[pursuant to the reply, 1 March 1982, c. 50]: Evidence of any kind is not readily available but I can trace only two cases over the past two years where complainants may have been deterred in pursuing appeals by the provision for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of state to award costs.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will inform people who have a right of appeal to tribunals coming under the jurisdiction of his Department of the type of circumstances which would lead him to award costs against either party and of the frequency with which costs have been awarded in the past.

[pursuant to the reply, 1 March 1982, c. 50]: No, because the award of costs has to be considered in the circumstances of each individual case. In advising parties of their rights of appeal to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, family practitioner committees refer both to the power of my right hon. Friend to award costs and to the fact that this power is seldom exercised.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list the tribunals for which he is able to award costs against one or other party; in the case of each tribunal, how often this has occurred; and in what circumstances it is his policy to award such costs.

[pursuant to the reply, 1 March 1982, c. 50]: Under the National Health Service (Service Committee and Tribunal) Regulations 1974 there are two provisions for the Secretary of State to award costs: (1) against either party on an appeal to him against decision of the family practitioner committee and (2) against a practitioner who has appealed to him against a decision of the NHS tribunal that the continued inclusion of the practitioner's name in the relevant list of the FPC would be prejudicial to the efficiency of the general medical—or general dental, pharmaceutical, or general ophthalmic—services.Since 1974 no awards of costs have been made against any party. The question of the award of costs has to be considered in the circumstances of each individual case.