Access to welfare benefits affect millions of people, including some of the most vulnerable members of society.
Our Welfare Benefits Team is committed to defending the rights of those in need, either by taking on test cases or by providing urgent relief by way of judicial review to individual claimants who are facing destitution or the loss of their home.
Our barristers provide representation in the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber), Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, Administrative Court, European Court of Justice and European Court of Human Rights.
Our expertise across the spectrum of social security law ensures that our barristers are particularly well-suited to act in cases involving the interaction of welfare benefits with other disciplines, such as housing law, EU law, human rights, discrimination and public law challenges
Despite the cuts to legal aid under LASPO, public funding is still available for the above types of work. For further details see: Use it or lose it: welfare benefits available on the LAG website.
The impact of welfare reform
Access to welfare benefits affects millions of people, including some of the most vulnerable members of society, as “a social security case may well involve the right of a claimant to subsistence income and so directly affect their access to the most fundamental necessities of life” (per Dyson LJ, Wiles v Social Security Commissioner & Anr  EWCA Civ 258).
It had generally been assumed that welfare benefits were designed to provide a guarantee of a basic level of entitlement for those unable to support themselves and to provide a safety net for the vulnerable. The programme of welfare reform introduced in 2010 onwards has undermined this principle. Many claimants are being left with little or no income for significant periods of time due to a combination of delays, conditionality and sanctions. The rollout of universal credit has compounded these problems.
Garden Court Chambers is committed to addressing these issues, be it by taking on test cases or by providing urgent relief to individual claimants who are facing destitution or the loss of their home, by way of judicial review.
publications and training
Members of our Welfare Benefits Team co-author the annual Housing Benefit Update in the Legal Action Group’s magazine and are contributors to the welfare benefits sections in Macdonald’s Immigration Law and Practice and The Housing Law Handbook (Law Society). Members of the Team regularly provide training to a range of organisations including the Housing Law Practitioners Association, the Immigration Law Practitioners Association, the AIRE Centre, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.