QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
B e f o r e :
(Vice President of the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division)
MR JUSTICE FIELD
|(1) HALTON MAGISTRATES' COURT|
|(2) THE DEPARTMENT OF WORK AND PENSIONS||(DEFENDANTS)|
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THE FIRST DEFENDANT DID NOT APPEAR AND WAS NOT REPRESENTED
MS K WHITTLESTONE (instructed by DEPARTMENT OF WORK AND PENSIONS) appeared on behalf of the 2ND DEFENDANT
Crown Copyright ©
Monday, 20th June 2005
"A person shall be guilty of an offence if -
(a) there has been a change of circumstances affecting any entitlement of his to any benefit or other payment or advantage under any provision of the relevant social security legislation;
(b) the change is not a change that is excluded by regulations from the changes that are required to be notified;
(c) he knows that the change affects an entitlement of his to such a benefit or other payment or advantage; and
(d) he dishonestly fails to give a prompt notification of that change in the prescribed manner to the prescribed person."
"(a) The wrong doing at which the offence was aimed was to prevent persons from dishonestly failing to notify a change in their circumstances that might affect their entitlement to benefit.
(b) The use of the word "prompt" was to prevent abuse by a person giving notification of a change in circumstances an unreasonable length of time after the change occurred.
(c) As a result, in a situation where no notification was ever given the issue of promptness was irrelevant.
(d) On 22nd August 2000 the appellant became subject to an obligation to notify the respondent Department of the fact that a change of circumstances had occurred, an obligation that did not cease purely due to passage of time but continued without a break until the appellant's claim for benefits was stopped in 2003.
(e) On 1st December 2001-section 111A of the Social Security and Administration Act came into force.
(f) Between 8th December 2001 and 5th November 2003 the appellant dishonestly failed to notify the respondent Department of the fact that a change of circumstances had occurred on 22nd August 2000, knowing that this fact would affect his entitlement to benefit, an omission which constituted an offence under section 111A."
"(a) Were we right to find that the use of the word 'prompt' in section 111A of the Social Security Administration Act 1992 was to prevent abuse by a person giving notification of a change in circumstances an unreasonable length of time after the change occurred with the result that, in a situation where no notification was ever given, the issue of promptness was irrelevant?
(b) Were we right to find that the appellant's obligation to notify the respondent Department, which began on 22nd August 2000, did not cease purely due to passage of time or his ceasing to work on 8th January 2001 but continued beyond the commencement date of section 111A and until his claim for benefits was stopped in 2003?
(c) Were we right to find that the period during which the appellant was working, namely 22nd August 2000 to 8th January 2001, was itself not relevant to the issue of whether the appellant had committed a criminal offence between 8th December 2001 and 5th November 2003 and that the relevant consideration was the appellant's behaviour between 8th December 2001 and 5th November 2003, namely his dishonest failure to notify the respondent Department of the fact he had worked?"