Upper Tribunal Consultation Alert

The Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) hears a lot of information rights appeals. What not all users of the UT, or readers of this blog, may have realised is that not all of its decisions – despite it being an appellate jurisdiction – are published online rendering them accessible to those interested in the area. Still fewer are then selected for reporting in the Administrative Appeals Case Reports, although we have our doubts whether anyone really uses the AACR. Is it time for a change of approach?

Maybe, says the UT. A consultation is currently being run, which closes on 1 August 2021, which invites the views of users of the UT about its approach in this respect. It is apparent that much has been derived from, and driven by, the disproportionate amount of social security appeal work in the AAC, of which a smaller proportion may indeed involve the determination of points of law of wider interest. Nonetheless, an approach whereby only some of an appellate jurisdiction’s decisions are published – at the decision of the Judge – and then some are selected for reporting – apparently through a process of judicial ‘feel’ which sounds akin to the selection of a new Pope, but which has slightly unclear effects on the precedential effect of the decision – is arguably ripe for reconsideration.

The consultation paper may be found here: UTAAC-Consultation-Paper-on-reporting-decisions-10-May-2021.pdf (judiciary.uk). Please do give the UT (AAC) your views. (Unfortunately, they do not seem to ask for views about my own bugbear, which is the carry across from social security appeals of inconsistently rendering individual parties to an appeal by their initials in the case name in some instances but not others.)

Christopher Knight