Department for Communities: Law and Legislation

The Department for Communities (DfC) is part of the Northern Ireland Executive. This section of the DfC’s site includes case law of the Social Security Commissioners and Child Support Commissioners for Northern Ireland 1960 onwards, via the NIDOC case law digest maintained by the DfC’s Decision Making Services. There are also electronic versions of Northern Ireland’s “Blue Volumes” and “Orange Volume”, containing collections of current social security and child support legislation, and sections devoted to housing law and social law.

Department for Work & Pensions

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is responsible for welfare, pensions and child maintenance policy in the UK. Content in this section of the GOV.UK site includes press releases and recent consultation documents. Among many other publications are the two extensive sets of guidance documents provided for DWP staff who make decisions about pensions, benefits and allowances – the Decision Makers’ Guide and Advice for Decision Making.

European Commission: Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

This is the website of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, which is concerned with employment and social policy within the EU, including anti-discrimination measures. The “Publications and documents” section includes links to legislation, and a “Document database” of policy documents and reports, 2005 onwards.

First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support)

The First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support) deals with appeals from decisions of the Department for Work and Pensions and the Child Support Agency, as well as other government departments and local authorities, concerning social security, child support, income support, housing and other benefits. It was formerly known as the Social Security and Child Support Appeal Tribunal, and earlier still as the Appeals Service. Since 3 November 2008 it has formed part of the First-tier Tribunal’s Social Entitlement Chamber. This section of the GOV.UK web site has information on the appeal procedure, with links to forms and procedural rules.

Independent Case Examiner

The Independent Case Examiner was established in 1997 and investigates complaints about certain government organisations that deal with benefits and financial support, including the Child Support Agency, the Northern Ireland Social Security Agency, Jobcentre Plus, the Disability and Carers Service, the Financial Assistance Scheme, Debt Management, and Child Maintenance and Enforcement Division (Northern Ireland). This section of the GOV.UK web site provides information on the Independent Case Examiner’s responsibilities, activities and publications. Archived annual reports are available back to 2000/2001.

Independent Review Service for the Social Fund

The Independent Review Service (IRS) for the Social Fund was abolished in April 2013 and its web site archived by the National Archives. It carried out independent reviews of discretionary Social Fund decisions made in Jobcentre Plus offices in England, Scotland and Wales. The “Publications and Leaflets” section includes the IRS Journal and a digest of inspectors’ decisions (both from winter 1999 onwards), annual reports, and the Social Fund Commissioner’s advice to inspectors. In the section “Your Rights and the Law” there are links to relevant Acts on the web site.


Rightsnet is maintained by the charity Lasa (Lasa Charity UK Limited). It provides information, advice and news on social welfare law in the UK, principally through its news and caselaw subscription service. The freely accessible “Resources” section however contains links to key online sources for legislation, official guidance, manuals, case law, forms and calculators. Case law content includes a “Commissioners decisions archive” of almost 5000 decisions in PDF format, from the late 1940s onwards, which are mostly unavailable elsewhere online. They include decisions formerly available from Commissioner Howell’s web site, the Office of the Social Security Commissioners’ archive, and the Child Poverty Action Group.

Social Security Advisory Committee

The Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) is an independent advisory body on social security matters sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions. This section of the GOV.UK web site includes recent annual reports, current consultation documents, research and occasional papers and recent press releases. Older annual reports are now on the National Archives web site.

Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber)

The Upper Tribunal is a superior court of record with UK-wide jurisdiction. Its Administrative Appeals Chamber deals with appeals from the General Regulatory Chamber, the Health, Education and Social Care Chamber, the Social Entitlement Chamber and the War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal. It also deals with first appeals from decisions of the Independent Safeguarding Authority and of the Traffic Commissioners, and with appeals from some decisions of tribunals in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Upon its establishment on 3 November 2008 it took over the work of the former Social Security, Child Support and Pensions Appeal Commissioners. This page of the GOV.UK web site has information, guidance and downloadable forms. Decisions 2016 onwards are on the site. Earlier decisions (1991 onwards for England & Wales and Scotland, with some earlier decisions; 1973 onwards, with a very small number of earlier ones, for Northern Ireland) are accessible via a link to the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary site.