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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71043
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I was accused of benefit fraud 3 years ago by the DWP and local

Customer Question

I was accused of benefit fraud 3 years ago by the DWP and local council for JSA, HB & CTB, the case went to magistrates court last year and no evidence was presented by the DWP. So the case was completely dismissed.

Now the council have approached me, and regardless of the court case outcome are demanding that I repay money to them. I have always protested my innocence in the matter, but they suggest I have to repay them anyway.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your question . My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

How can I help you with this?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.




How do I get the council to accept that the case was dismissed in court, and to quash demands for payments that I don't owe ? Thanks Simon

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

I am sorry to break bad news but I'm afraid you misunderstand the position. The fact that this case was dismissed at the Magistrates Court does not mean they don't have a civil claim against you.

All the dismissal of a case means is that they couldn't prove it to the criminal standard. There can be lots of reasons for that. Sometimes they can't prove the dishonesty. Sometimes they have just plain lost evidence.

Whatever the reason, it doesn't prove there was not an overpayment. If there was an overpayment then they can reclaim it at the civil courts.

Of course, there may not have been an overpayment and if thats right then you have a defence but you seem to be trying to argue that because the criminal case failed their case is founded on a misconception and I'm afraid that is just plain wrong.

If they overpaid you in circumstances where your hands were wholly clean then there has been case law that has suggested you should not have to repay it. However, you do have to show that you had no was of knowing about this. You may well be able to do that but thats the test.

This is not to say that you will lose necessarily but just that the fact that your case was dismissed doesn't mean they cannot bring this action.

Can I clarify anything for you?