Less favourable awards

A tribunal can consider both components of PIP and may, on the evidence before it, decide to make a less favourable award. Case law has considered what duties the tribunal has towards the claimant where it is considering reducing the award.


The power for tribunals to consider issues not raised by an appeal is provided by the Social Security Act 1998.

Section 12(8)(a) of the Act provides -

(8)(a) In deciding an appeal under this section, the First-tier Tribunal - (a) need not consider any issue that is not raised by the appeal;...

Source: Section 12 of the Social Security Act 1998, and article 13 of the Social Security (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 (SI.No.1506/1998 (NI.10)).

NB - in Scotland, adult disability payment is replacing personal independence payment and section 49 of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 makes provision for the First-tier Tribunal to uphold the determination or to make a different determination.

Case law

Commentary:​ Upper Tribunal judges have repeatedly drawn attention to the pitfalls of tribunals making decisions which are less favourable to a claimant than the decision under appeal. In [2015] UKUT 155 (AAC) a tribunal’s failure to invite a claimant to put her case on issues it later relied on to reduce her award, amounted to an error of law. While there is no protected right to points awarded by a decision-maker, the First-tier Tribunal should nevertheless advise the appellant if it has misgivings about the points in order that he or she has the opportunity to make his or her case [2015] UKUT 275 (AAC).

For how the issue is approached in Northern Ireland (from where case law can be relied on as persuasive in Great Britain) see [2020] NICom 1 and [2020] NICom 6, where Chief Commissioner Mullan adopts a  harder approach to notice requirements than that taken in GB case law, suggesting that tribunals should be more open to going ahead to determine appeals that are less favourable as long as appropriate notice has been given. | Add commentary or suggest an edit