Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Seventeenth Report


Memorandum by the Department of Health


  1. The Joint Committee has requested the Department of Health to submit a Memorandum in relation to the above instrument, dealing with the following points:-

    "(1)  Regulation 6(7) provides that any oral hearing before a tribunal shall be in public except where the person making the appeal requests a private hearing or the chairman is satisfied that intimate personal or financial circumstances may have to be disclosed or that considerations of public security are involved, in which case the hearing shall be in private. In relation to the case of a request by the appellant for a private hearing, is it intended that the tribunal shall not be able to refuse the appellant's request?"

  2. It is intended that the tribunal shall not be able to refuse the appellant's request. This provision is identical to regulation 5(7) of the Social Security (Recovery of Benefits) (Appeals) Regulations 1997 [S.I. 1997/2237.] NHS Charges appeals will be heard by the same tribunal which hears appeals under the 1997 Regulations, and the tribunal may consider an appeal under both regulations at the same hearing. The intention is, therefore, to have the same provision for both types of appeals.

    "(2)   Regulation 11(3) provides that, without prejudice to provisions for appeal to the High Court under section 9 of the Act (appeals on a point of law), there is to be no other appeal against the tribunal's correction of an accidental error in a decision. Explain what sort of correction of an accidental error in a decision could give rise to an appeal on a point of law under section 9."

  3. A tribunal may decide that a certain charge is payable, but wrongly specify the amount when giving its decision or wrongly record that charge in the record of the decision. Where the decision or record is corrected (which the tribunal may do without application), the person to whom the certificate was issued, or the Secretary of State, may nevertheless dispute that the corrected figure is the amount properly payable under the scheme established by and under the Road Traffic (NHS Charges) Act 1999 (c.3). In such cases there could be an appeal under section 9. This provision mirrors regulation 12(2) of the Social Security (Recovery of Benefits) (Appeals) Regulations [S.I. 1997/2237] and it is intended to make clear that any substantial right of appeal is unaffected.

6th May 1999

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