Do you know of an individual who has been disadvantaged by the Secretary of State withdrawing a decision under appeal at the FTT, and then the FTT consequently declining to allow appeal proceedings to continue? Or, do you have experience of the Secretary of State withdrawing a decision for what to you seemed a bad or insufficient reason?
If so, please get in touch with Isaac Shaffer at Wilson Solicitors LLP, who is running R (on the application of El-Issa) v First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal, a test case on Rule 17 of the 2014 Procedure Rules. He is looking to gather evidence.
Of particular value are relevant experiences of practitioners which post-date the coming into force of the new Tribunal Procedure Rules (i.e. after 20 October 2014).
About the case
Withdrawals are dealt with under Rule 17 of the 2014 Procedure Rules:
17.—(1) A party may give notice of the withdrawal of their appeal—
(a) by providing to the Tribunal a written notice of withdrawal of the appeal; or
(b) orally at a hearing, and in either case must specify the reasons for that withdrawal.
(2) The Tribunal must (save for good reason) treat an appeal as withdrawn if the respondent notifies the Tribunal and each other party that the decision (or, where the appeal relates to more than one decision, all of the decisions) to which the appeal relates has been withdrawn and specifies the reasons for the withdrawal of the decision.
(3) The Tribunal must notify each party in writing that a withdrawal has taken effect under this rule and that the proceedings are no longer regarded by the Tribunal as pending.
There is not yet guidance from the higher courts about what ‘good reason’ means. Furthermore, the administrative practice of both the FTT and UT seems to be not to treat termination decisions as appealable decisions: but the Rules are silent about whether that is right or wrong.
In El-Issa, the High Court is being asked to consider:
- The circumstances in which a tribunal should permit proceedings to continue when SSHD withdraws (or tries to withdraw) her decision; and,
- Whether a right of appeal exists against a FTT’s decision to terminate proceedings following a withdrawal.
Richard Drabble QC and Tom Royston are counsel for Mr El-Issa.