Mike Spencer

  • Late is better than never

    Issue 253 (August 2016)
    article

    A three-judge panel of the Upper Tribunal has overturned a previous ruling that tax credits claimants could not make a late appeal against decisions made between 2008 and 2014. Mike Spencer considers the implications of the decision and how claimants whose appeals were wrongly struck out can get their appeals reinstated.

  • Changes in the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016

    Issue 252 (June 2016)
    article

    The Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016 received royal assent on 16 March 2016. Mike Spencer summarises the key changes to social security legislation.

  • The Welfare Reform and Work Bill and human rights

    Issue 250 (February 2016)
    article

    The Welfare Reform and Work Bill, if passed into law, will have a significant impact on claimants (for an overview, see Bulletin 247). Mike Spencer and Sophie Earnshaw consider whether its more controversial measures would comply with human rights law.

  • Upper Tribunal extends pregnancy right to reside

    Issue 248 (October 2015)
    article

    Mike Spencer looks at a recent Upper Tribunal decision on the residence rights of women who have to give up work during pregnancy and following childbirth.

  • Mike Spencer


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    As the Legal Officer for the Child Poverty Action Group, Mike's role is to pursue strategic test cases which promote the rights and welfare of children in poverty. He specialises in social security and public law, representing clients in Tribunals, the High Court and the UK and European appeal courts.

  • Supreme Court splits the baby over the benefit cap

    Issue 245 (April 2015)
    article

    The Supreme Court’s judgment on the benefit cap in R (SG and others) was handed down on 18 March 2015. The Court was sharply divided over whether the benefit cap, which limits the amount of welfare benefits any family with children can receive to £500 a week, regardless of family size, breaches the Human Rights Act 1998. Mike Spencer comments.

  • Still better late than never?

    Issue 244 (February 2015)
    article

    Various changes, some unintentional others deliberate, have made it more difficult to bring an appeal against a tax credits decision outside the time limit. Following on from Martin Williams article in Bulletin 234, Mike Spencer looks at the issues and discusses potential legal challenges.

  • CTR minimum residency rule

    Issue 242 (October 2014)
    article

    In R (Winder and others) v Sandwell MBC,1 the High Court ruled that a local authority could not lawfully adopt a council tax reduction (CTR) scheme that was restricted only to those who had lived in the borough for two years. Michael Spencer discusses the case and its implications for CTR schemes and localised welfare more generally.

    • 1. [2014] EWHC 2617 (Admin)
  • Saint Prix and the right to reside for pregnant women

    Issue 241 (August 2014)
    article

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    Mike Spencer looks at a recent European Court of Justice decision with important findings about the right to reside of women who have given up work due to pregnancy.

  • What hope has the Court of Appeal left for human rights?

    Issue 239 (April 2014)
    article

    On 21 February 2014 the Court of Appeal dismissed human rights challenges to the benefit cap1 and the bedroom tax.2 Mike Spencer considers the implications for human rights arguments in social security cases.

    • 1. R(SG and others) (previously JS and others) v SSWP [2014] EWCA Civ 156 (21 February 2014).
    • 2. R(MA and others) v SSWP [2014] EWCA Civ 13 (21 February 2014).