Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Twelfth Report


Memorandum from the Northern Ireland Court Service


1. It is envisaged that the abridgement of time power in regulation 3(2) of the Social Security Commissioners (Procedure) (Tax Credits Appeals) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003 will be used to secure the expeditious conduct of proceedings and be exercised in much the same way as the corresponding power in regulation 5(2) of the Social Security Commissioners (Procedure) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999.

2. Ordinarily, the power in the 1999 Regulations is used to abridge the time periods in regulations 18 and 19 of the 1999 Regulations (which allow for written observations on appeal) if there has previously been an application for leave to appeal. This is because observations on the leave application will already have been directed, received and exchanged between the parties. The issues will, therefore, be fairly clear and further month­long periods for written observations are unlikely to be required. However, should additional issues emerge during the abridged time period, an application can be made to extend the applicable time.

3. It is considered that the Commissioner's general power to issue directions for the efficient despatch of the proceedings (regulation 16(4) of the 2003 Regulations refers) is sufficiently broad to allow for the admission of submissions on the exercise of the abridgement of time power. In addition, the power to request an extension of time is viewed as an effective counter­balance to the power to abridge time.

4. Arrangements are in place at an administrative level to ensure that any party who is not present when the power is exercised by the Commissioner will be duly notified.

17 February 2003

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