Jeremy Holden, Mayer Brown
"These are people already living with very serious medical difficulties, trying to work through an intimidating legal process and it has been incredibly rewarding to have the chance to make things even just a little easier for them."
The Tribunal Project is a fully co-ordinated scheme to connect pro bono lawyers to low income individuals who are in need of tribunal representation when they are denied their sickness or disability benefits. The project currently involves nine corporate law firms, three of which have just recently joined the project.
Mayer Brown have taken 16 cases in 2019 to tribunal, accessing £182,614.75 in financial benefit for our clients. Six of these cases are awaiting hearings, and we therefore expect by the end of the year to take Mayer brown’s financial benefit for our clients above £200,000. This means people are put through an extensive and a remarkably unnecessary process all so – in the end – they can get the benefits they were clearly entitled to.
Mayer Brown client’s experiences:
Yousef* is a 49-year-old man who lives alone and receives on-going support and psychological treatment from the Helen Bamber Foundation, as he had previously been tortured whilst in prison in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has a diagnosis of PTSD, depression and anxiety, a head injury causing stroke-like symptoms, type 2 diabetes and a couple of minor medical conditions. He is on an array of medication which contain side-effects such as fatigue and drowsiness.
His case was referred to Z2K through the Helen Bamber Foundation as he had been awarded 0 points during his assessment for both daily living and mobility for Personal Independence Payment (PIP). With the support from Mayer Brown, the appeal was won. He has now been awarded PIP daily living at the standard rate of £58.70 per week, and received a backdated payment of just over £4,000. The positive decision meant that the client was no longer benefit capped.
For a system which is supposed to support and help some of the most disabled and unwell people, thousands are instead seen through a lens of a culture of disbelief and the outcomes are truly devastating. We are concerned about the level of strain on mental health and the risk of homelessness.
“Tribunals are so overwhelming it is great to have support of people who know what the system needs so you do not feel alone.” – Mayer Brown client feedback
Jeremy Holden, a Senior Associate at Mayer Brown, has been heavily involved with the project, and says: “Since becoming involved with Z2K a year ago, I have been able to help a number of appellants facing the daunting prospect of a hearing in the Disability Appeals Tribunal. These are people already living with very serious medical difficulties, trying to work through an intimidating legal process and it has been incredibly rewarding to have the chance to make things even just a little easier for them. Z2K does a wonderful job supporting these individuals through the maze of paperwork and regulation, and I am proud to play a small part in that. Thank you Z2K.”
A huge thank you to Jeremy and everyone at Mayer Brown for your continued support.