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Eastbourne & Willingdon Lib Dems

MP DEMANDS DISABILITY TRIBUNALS BE RETURNED TO EASTBOURNE

April 22, 2014 2:16 PM

Stephen Lloyd MP was joined by a number of disabled constituents he has supported during the Tribunal process who've have been forced to travel to Hove to have their cases heard.

Since August 2013, the majority of disputed cases have been moved from their Eastbourne location in favour of having the cases heard some 30 miles away in Hove. Listening to his constituents, Stephen learnt that the Tribunal's facilities at Hove are sometimes inadequate for the access needs of disabled people. Furthermore, travelling to Hove can present real challenges and causes unnecessary hardship for vulnerable residents.

Stephen said 'For many disabled individuals, being asked to attend a Tribunal for a decision is an intimidating matter at the best of times, so right from the beginning since being elected I have asked my casework team to provide an active advocacy service where it is appropriate. This is a relative rarity amongst other Members of Parliament but I have always been determined to do all I can to support disabled residents who may struggle to defend themselves properly"

He added 'I think it is unfair for people with disabilities to have to attend their Tribunals in Hove when they could be done locally. We are a town of almost 100,000 and we should host Tribunals, as we had done for many years in the past. Some local residents have really challenging impairments and to force them to travel to Hove is just plain wrong in my view. I've already written to the Ministry of Justice and Chief Executive of Her Majesties Courts and Tribunal Service with regards to this but remain dissatisfied with their response. I feel very strongly that access to justice is being restricted, which is simply not fair.'

Stephen concluded 'Justice delayed is justice denied. The added burden of travelling to Hove means equal access to justice is being made unnecessarily difficult and that can't be right.'

Local resident, Mrs Stanley, who was assisted by Stephen Lloyd's office added 'I am grateful for the help that Stephen gave me during a very difficult time. However, I do feel it is really unfair with my disabilities to be instructed I must travel to Hove to be heard, and ask that the Tribunals once again be returned to Eastbourne."