Zebra Training Services

For All Your Housing Benefit, Council Tax, Universal Credit & Welfare Reform Training Needs

Housing Benefit Appeals


Going to the Upper Tribunal


How to challenge a decision of the First-tier Tribunal, and how to respond when another party challenges a Tribunal decision. A new workshop for HB appeals officers, welfare rights representatives and others with an interest in learning more about the mechanisms and procedures arising after the First-tier Tribunal has made its decision. The Information Pack provided will contain helpful document templates to use at each stage of the process.



This Workshop is available for in-house training

purposes for individual organisations.



Options following the First Tier Tribunal (FtT): This Workshop picks up the appeal provcess at the point where a onventional case reaches 'finality' with a decision by the First Tier Tribunal upholding or rejecting an appeal from the person affected, striking it out or even declining to entertain it in the first place. All of these actions are decisions of the Tribunal and may be challenged, normally by one of the following methods:

  • Application to “set aside”; or
  • Appeal to the Upper Tribunal; or
  • Occasionally the Council may make a superseding decision which effectively overturns the Tribunal’s decision.

We will consider the circumstances in which each of these options arises, the procedure to follow and the time limit in which to act.


Applying for permission to appeal:The most important way of challenging a Tribunal decision is, of course, an appeal to the Upper Tribunal (UT). A successful appeal to the Upper Tribunal requires the appellant to demonstrate that the Tribunal erred in law. Unsuccessful appeals are frequently rejected on the basis that the appellant is seeking a “second bite of the cherry” on the facts and has failed to identify an error of law. We will consider what is meant by an error of law: It does not only mean misinterpreting the HB Regulations (although that certainly would be an error of law), but also covers certain procedural errors and omissions, especially failure to give adequate reasons. Using real FtT decisions as case studies we will practise identifying an error of law and drafting an application for permission to appeal.


Disposal: As well as identifying what the Tribunal did wrong, the appellant to the UT must also consider the outcome they seek: how is the UT to dispose of the appeal? Should the UT simply substitute a different decision, or should the case be reheard?  Are you happy for the UT to give a brief decision or do you believe the case raises a point of wider importance requiring a fully reasoned decision? And do you want the UT to conduct an oral hearing? Again using genuine case studies we will consider what outcome an appellant can expect from a UT appeal.


Responding:When one of the parties to the FtT submits an appeal to the UT, the other party or parties will be invited to respond. How do you go about this: Do you support the appeal?  Did the Tribunal err in law? Do you want the same outcome as the appellant?


Interlocutory issues: Depending on the nature of the FtT’s decision, it may be possible for the Council to suspend or part-suspend HB pending an appeal to the UT. But what if the claimant is the appellant at the UT stage – what should the Council do about implementing the FtT’s decision in the meantime?


About the presenter:  “HB Anorak” Peter Barkerhas been handling Housing Benefit appeals for over 25 years and is an experienced presenter and submission writer at both First-tier and Upper Tribunals representing both claimants and local authorities.  Some of the notable cases he has dealt with at Upper Tribunal include [2009] UKUT 245 (AAC) (treatment of compensation payment following resolution of employment dispute); [2010] UKUT 354 (AAC) (liability and contrivance); [2013] UKUT 65 (AAC) (meaning of “dwelling”); and [2014] UKUT 411 (AAC) (eligible rent in first week of tenancy).



   9.30 –  9.45  Arrivals and coffee/tea

         9.45        Introductions and course overview

 11.15 – 11:30  Coffee/tea break

   1:00 –   2:00  Lunch break

   3.00 –   3.15  Coffee/tea break

         4.30        Workshop ends.


Topics Covered:


Procedure following First Tier Tribunal (FtT) decision:

o    Statement of reasons

o    Setting aside

o    Permission to appeal:

§  From FtT

§  From UT

o    Time limits

o    Superseding decision by Council



o    What exactly are the “decisions” with a right of appeal to the UT?


Drafting an application for permission to appeal

o    Identifying an error of law

o    Showing how the error affected the outcome

o    Disposal: desired action by UT


Responding to another party’s UT appeal

o    Whether to support or oppose the appeal

o    Commenting on the grounds for appeal

o    Identifying alternative error of law

o    Disposal


Interlocutory issues

o    Suspension of FtT outcome


Oral hearing before UT

o    Procedure

o    Conduct


Document templates

o    Applications and responses at each stage


Your Presenter - Peter Barker


Peter has worked in the field of benefits since 1985, and first became a local authority Appeals Officer over 25 years ago. His previous posts include working for the Citizens Advice, Westminster City Council and the Local Government Ombudsman, where he edited the in-house Housing Benefit practice note He combines a wealth of first-hand experience with expert knowledge of adjudication legislation, and has a real enthusiasm for the topic. He now works as a trainer, appeals presenter/submission writer and specialist adviser. Peter is an expert on the decisions and appeals adjudication framework and European rights of residence. He has a detailed knowledge of case law and he has recently developed a methodology for resolving disputes about supported and exempt accommodation. Peter now represents many local authorities on Housing Benefit appeals cases on a wide variety of issues in England, Wales and Scotland - at both First-tier and Upper Tribunal level. As well as an in-depth knowledge of Housing Benefit topics such as ‘Persons From Abroad’, ‘Exempt Accommodation’, and ‘Appeals & Tribunals’, he has also become well-known for his knowledge and courses on the new Welfare Reform and ‘Universal Credit’ legislation. Peter has presented and developed hundreds of courses over the last few years and his analytical skills and enthusiasm for his subject are unmatched. 



Booking Fee: £240 + V.A.T.

Includes lunch, comprehensive course notes and refreshments.







It is essential that we receive your Booking Form with an Official Order Number if your organisation's procedures stipulate these must be provided. You will be informed within 3 working days by email when this has been received and that your place(s) are reserved, otherwise you should contact us to confirm the booking has been received. Substitutes to the persons named on the Booking Form may attend right up to the day itself. However, it would be helpful if we could be advised of this beforehand, and also informed of any special dietary needs of the person(s) that are substituting.


Do you have more than 4 people requiring this training, but not sufficient for an in-house Workshop? Often this may apply to Workshops suitable primarily for Team Leaders/Supervisors. Please contact us for details of our special discounts which can provide a cost-effective solution to meeting your training needs.

To book online please: 


Post / Email:  Please complete the Booking Form, Post / Attach and send to:


Zebra Training Services Limited

P.O. Box 268, Wigan, WN5 8FQ


E-mail:  mail@ZebraTraining.co.uk   Tel: (01942) 222078


You will be invoiced for the Booking Fee – you do not need to send payment when booking. Cancellations received in writing within 10 days of the Workshop date, or non-arrival, will be charged at the full registration fee. Cancellations received in writing within 11-28 days of the Workshop will incur an administration charge of 35% of the fee above. Cancellations received in writing within 10 days of the Workshop date, or non-arrival, will be charged at the full registration fee. Substitutes may attend on the day without prior notice. Substitutes may attend on the day without prior notice. A copy of the full Terms & Conditions is available from Zebra Training Services on request.

Zebra Training

Services Limited

P.O. Box 268

Wigan, WN5 8FQ


Tel: 01942 222078




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Welfare Reform & Universal Credit

Available 'in-house' for individual orgaisations - a very topical and popular selection of Workshops designed for either local authority HB staff or housing associations/other landlords.


In-House Training

Most of our Workshops can be organised to be presented at your own training venue. Please contact us with your requirements for any in-house courses you may require.


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Would you like some help with a particular HB case or HB issue, such as preparing a complex Appeal? Please email an outline of your needs and if we can assist then we will be pleased to provide information and costs for our consultancy services.  


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