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The Social Security (Recovery of Benefits) (Appeals) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1997

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Manner of making appeals and time limits

2.—(1) Subject to paragraph (11), any appeal against a certificate of recoverable benefits shall be in writing on a form approved by the Department and shall be given or sent to the Department—

(a)not later than 3 months after the date on which the compensator discharged the liability under Article 8;

(b)where the certificate is reviewed by the Department in accordance with regulations made under Article 13(5)(c), not later than 3 months after the date on which the certificate is confirmed or, as the case may be, a fresh certificate is issued; or

(c)where an agreement is made under which an earlier compensation payment is treated as having been made in final discharge of a claim made by or in respect of an injured person and arising out of the accident, injury or disease, not later than 3 months after the date of that agreement.

(2) The time specified by this regulation for the making of any appeal may be extended, even though the time so specified may have already expired, provided the conditions set out in paragraphs (3) to (7) are satisfied; and any application for an extension of time under this paragraph shall be made to the Department and shall be determined by a chairman of a medical appeal tribunal.

(3) Where the time specified for the making of an appeal has already expired, an application for an extension of time for making an appeal shall not be granted unless the applicant has satisfied the chairman considering the application that—

(a)if the application is granted there are reasonable prospects that such an appeal will be successful; and

(b)it is in the interests of justice that the application be granted.

(4) For the purposes of paragraph (3) it shall not be considered to be in the interests of justice to grant an application unless the chairman considering the application is satisfied that—

(a)special reasons exist, which are wholly exceptional and which relate to the history or facts of the case;

(b)such special reasons have existed throughout the period beginning with the day on which the time specified by paragraph (1) for the making of an appeal expires and ending with the day on which the application for an extension of time is made; and

(c)such special reasons manifestly constitute a reasonable excuse of compelling weight for the applicant’s failure to make an appeal within the time specified.

(5) In determining whether there are special reasons for granting an application for an extension of time for making an appeal under paragraph (2) the chairman considering the application shall have regard to the principle that the greater the amount of time that has elapsed between the expiry of the time specified for the making of the appeal and the making of the application for an extension of time, the more cogent should be the special reasons on which the application is based.

(6) In determining whether facts constitute special reasons for granting an application for an extension of time for making an appeal under paragraph (2) no account shall be taken of the following—

(a)that the applicant or anyone acting for him or advising him was unaware of or misunderstood the law applicable to his case (including ignorance or misunderstanding of any time limits imposed by paragraph (1));

(b)that a Commissioner (including a Commissioner within the meaning of section 191 of the Social Security Administration Act 1992(1)) or a court has taken a different view of the law from that previously understood and applied.

(7) Notwithstanding paragraph (2), no appeal may in any event be brought later than 6 years after the beginning of the period specified in paragraph (1) or, if more than one such period is relevant, the one beginning later or latest.

(8) An application under paragraph (2) for an extension of time which has been refused may not be renewed.

(9) Any appeal or application under these Regulations shall contain the following particulars—

(a)in the case of an appeal, the date of the certificate of recoverable benefits or review decision of the Department against which the appeal is made, the question under Article 13 to which the appeal relates, and a summary of the arguments relied on by the person making the appeal to support his contention that the certificate is wrong;

(b)in the case of an application under paragraph (2) for an extension of time in which to appeal, in relation to the appeal which it is proposed to bring, the particulars required under sub-paragraph (a) together with particulars of the special reasons on which the application is based.

(10) Where the appeal, or application under paragraph (2) for an extension of time, is made by the injured person or other person to whom a compensation payment has been made, there shall be sent with that appeal or application a copy of the statement given to that person under Article 11 or if that statement was not in writing, a written summary of it.

(11) Where an appeal is not made on the form approved for the time being, but is made in writing, contains all the particulars required under paragraph (9) and, where applicable, is accompanied by the document required under paragraph (10), the Department may treat that appeal as duly made.

(12) Where it appears to the Department that an appeal or application does not contain all the particulars required under paragraph (9) or is not accompanied by the document required under paragraph (10), it may direct the person making the appeal or application to provide such particulars or such document.

(13) Where paragraph (12) applies, the Department may extend the time specified by this regulation for making the appeal or application by a period of not more than 14 days.

(14) Where further particulars or a document are required under paragraph (12) they shall be sent or delivered to the Department within such period as it may direct.

(15) The date of an appeal shall be the date on which all the particulars required under paragraph (9) and, where applicable, the document required under paragraph (10) are received by the Department.

(16) In the case of an application under paragraph (2) for an extension of time for making an appeal, the chairman who determines that application shall record his decision in writing together with a statement of the reasons for the decision.

(17) As soon as practicable after the decision has been made, it shall be communicated to the applicant and to the Department and if, within 3 months of such communication being sent, the applicant or the Department so requests in writing, a copy of the record referred to in paragraph (16) shall be supplied to him or it.

(18) The Department may treat any appeal as an application for review under Article 12, notwithstanding that a condition specified in paragraph (1)(a) or (b) of that Article is not satisfied.

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