Benefit Fraud Court Process
All cases start in the Magistrates Court. Depending upon your means you may be entitled to Legal Aid.
MJP solicitors will assist you by completing Legal Aid on your behalf and then providing full high quality advice and support throughout the course of the proceedings.
During the case we will look at all aspects of the evidence to see whether it is admissible or not, and take instructions from any relevant witnesses. These can be friends, family, neighbours, employers or any other relevant agency.
We will represent you in Court and provide a high quality service. Even if the overpayment is a large amount, negotiations can be held with the Department for Work & Pensions to lower the overpayment figure or alternatively a notional entitlement offset report can be applied for. This is a report by a Welfare Benefits Advisor who will offset any loss in terms of the benefits fraudulently claimed by providing details to the Court of benefits that a person may have been entitled to but did not claim. For example, if somebody was working whilst claiming benefit then any overpayment figure could be offset by their entitlement to tax credits.
The government has recently withdrawn the right to legal aid funding for representation at Social Security Appeal Tribunals meaning that vulnerable claimants are unlikely to have representation at such hearings. These changes come into force next year and may well result in benefit claimants being unjustly saddled with bills for many thousands of pounds which they can ill afford.
At MJP Solicitors we will explore every avenue of defence including whether the DWP have followed their own rules and regulations in relation to benefit entitlement and overpayment. In many cases before the Magistrates Court and the Crown Court we will draft legal arguements in suport of our client's case. These arguements go into sufficient enough detail for our clients to use, together with any evidence that we have gathered, before the Social Security Appeal Tribunal to hopefully ensure that the right decision is made in any civil proceedings that our client may jointly face.