‘I thought, well even if we lose, actually trying is enough. Just so people know that they are seen and they are worth fighting for.’
This is from an April 2019 report from the Public Law Project (pdf) on the landmark legal challenge to the personal independence payments (PIP) scheme, a case that changed the assessment criteria for thousands of people on disability benefits.
The report asks who was involved in the legal challenge and why? What characterised their collaboration? And what systemic changes resulted from the case?
The report found the following lessons:
- Put aside sufficient time and resources to properly support claimants through the various stages of the litigation process.
- Respond to relevant consultations and play a proactive role in the legislative process.
- Work with experienced legal experts when preparing for a legal challenge.
- Be sensitive to what litigation demands of (but also offers) claimants who are at the heart of the case.
- Accommodating supporters of a case at the hearing itself sends an important message to the court, and can also provide an important signal of importance and reassurance to the claimant regardless of the outcome.