Searching for Social Security caselaw
Social Security Upper Tribunal Decisions
Decisions in the Law Centre library
The Law Centre holds a selection of Commissioners Decisions for both GB and Northern Ireland. Reported decisions for Great Britain are held from 1981, and for Northern Ireland from 1948. A selection of unreported decisions, both from GB and NI is also held, mainly dating from the 1990s to the present, together with a few earlier unreported decisions. Decisions can be faxed or posted out to Law Centre members on request. The librarian works part-time and is generally in the office on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
Social Security Court Decisions - A selection of UK Social Security Court Decisions is also held in the library and is arranged alphabetically by the name of the plaintiff.
Selected European Court cases and ECHR Cases are also available.
Decisions on the Web
1. Department for Social Development (NI)
The law and legislation section of this site contains the Northern Ireland Digest of Case-Law (known as NIDOC) which is maintained by the Decision Making and Appeals Unit of the DSD. It enables access to important N.I. (generally "reported") decisions from 1972 up to 1999 and all decisions from 2000. You can search by benefit, by topic or by year.
The benefit law section of this site contains the Northern Ireland Digest of Case-Law (known as NIDOC) which is maintained by the Decision Making and Appeals Unit of the DSD. It enables access to important N.I. (generally "reported") decisions from 1972 up to 1999 and all decisions from 2000. You can search by benefit, by topic or by year.
2. Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals)
The website includes a link to a Guide to using the a search facility” which gives useful information including shortcuts to use when searching.
The database includes reported decisions 1991, also subject-indexed, selected decisions 2000-2001 and all decisions from 2002 onwards.
If you are regularly hunting for cases it may be worthwhile subscribing to Rightsnet. In addition to providing up-to-date news on developments affecting benefits, the Briefcase section on Rightsnet contains summaries, arranged by benefit, of all recent commissioners' decisions.
As well as this, more than 1500 decisions from the late 1940's to the 1990's, many unavailable elsewhere on the internet, can be found here.
4. Direct Contact Phone Numbers
If the case you need is not available through the Law Centre or on the web, you could try contacting in the first instance:
The Decision Making and Appeals Unit of the Department for Social Development (NI)
Telephone: 028 9072 4883 - and if no luck there:
The Decisions Section of the Offices of the Upper Tribunal Administrative Appeals Chamber
Scottish Decisions – Office of the Social Security Commissioners, Edinburgh
Telephone: 0131 271 4310 (no charge for this service).
Rightsnet - already mentioned above (www.rightsnet.org.uk) as a source for decisions, also contains a discussion group. Many people with practical knowledge and experience in this area contribute and there is a general willingness to send copies of decisions via email or to give help in tracking down decisions relating to a particular area.
Court Decisions on the Web
1. British and Irish Legal Information Institute
Contains Court of Appeal, High Court and House of Lords decisions for GB, and N. Ireland as well as Court decisions from the Republic of Ireland.
2. European Court of Human Rights Portal (HUDOC)
A searchable database covering judgements of the ECHR from1955 on.
3. European Court of Justice (CURIA)
Gives numerical access to judgements of the ECJ and includes a search facility.