Child support and benefit tribunals to introduce video hearings

Judges to be given option of conducting video hearing

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Tribunals for issues of benefits and child support are to offer video hearings.

During lockdown, many parts of the courts system have, at least in part, switched to video hearings, where possible. Face-to-face sittings of the First-tier Tribunal – Social Security and Child Support (SCSS) service have been suspended, but have thus far only been replaced with “telephone hearings and the use of other remote hearing technology”, according to courts minister Chris Philp.

But, “after a number of successful tests, arrangements are currently being made to introduce and make available cloud video hearings in all SSCS tribunal regions”, Philp said, in answer to a written parliamentary question from Labour MP Ian Murray.

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“The decision as to how a hearing is conducted is a matter for the judge who will determine how best to uphold the interests of justice,” the minister added. “In considering the suitability of video [and] audio, judges will consider issues such as the benefit type under appeal, the nature of the matters at stake during the hearing and any issues the use of video [and] audio technology may present for participants in the hearing.”

The SCSCC is responsible for hearing appeals related to the benefits system, as well as child-support matters and citizens claiming compensation from government.

Sam Trendall

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