Law Report: Student who lost placement could not claim benefit

Driver v Chief Adjudication Officer; Court of Appeal (Lord Justice McCowan, Lord Justice Peter Gibson, Lord Justice Waller) 6 December 1996

A student attending a sandwich course did not become eligible for income support if, during the semester of the course when she was on industrial placement, the firm employing her ceased to do so and she was then in receipt of neither pay nor a student grant.

The Court of Appeal by a majority (Lord Justice Waller dissenting) dismissed an appeal by Hilary Mary Diana Driver against the decision of the Social Security Commissioner, on 8 December 1994, that the appellant did not qualify for income support on 5 November 1991 because she was then a student within the meaning of the relevant regulations.

Nathalie Lieven (Richard Poynter, Crouch End) for the appellant; Rabinder Singh (Treasury Solicitor) for the respondent.

Lord Justice McCowan said that in September 1989 the appellant began a full time sandwich course in interior design at the Polytechnic of North London. The course was for seven semesters, finishing in February 1993. Semester 5, between September 1991 and February 1992 had to be spent on industrial placement.

In September 1991 the appellant began an industrial placement with a firm of architects but in October 1991 the firm ended her placement because of financial difficulties caused by the recession. The appellant then had no source of income because she was in receipt of neither pay nor her student grant.

She applied for income support but was refused on the ground that she was a student attending a full-time course of study. The Social Security Appeal Tribunal agreed and on 8 December 1994 the Commissioner upheld that decision.

On 14 February 1995 the Court of Appeal decided, in Chief Adjudication Officer v Clarke and Faul (Law Report, 15 February 1995), that a student who withdrew from his course during an intercalated period was eligible for income support. Following that decision, the present appellant was granted leave to appeal.

At the material time, reg 10(1)(h) of the Income Support (General) Regulations 1987 provided that a claimant was not to be treated as available for employment (and therefore eligible for income support) if he was a student during a period of study. By reg 2(1), "student" had the meaning prescribed by reg 61, namely:

a person aged 19 or over but under pensionable age who is attending a full time course of study at an educational establishment; and for the purposes of this definition:

(a) a person who has started on such a course shall be treated as attend-

ing it throughout any period of

term or vacation within it until the last day of the course or such earlier date as he abandons it or is dismissed from it;

(b) a person on a sandwich course shall be treated as attending a full time course of advanced education or, as the case may be, of study.

The appellant accepted that she had not abandoned or been dismissed from the course, but argued that she should be treated in the same way as the applicants in the Clarke and Faul case, who were held not to be "students" within the meaning of the regulations during the intercalated periods when their attendance at their courses had been suspended. There were certain unnamed periods in a course which were neither term nor vacation and these, it was said, were the equivalent of the intercalated year relied on in Clarke and Faul.

His Lordship did not agree. The difference in the facts was crucial. The intercalated year could not be equated with the unnamed periods relied on here.

The regulation clearly stated that a person who had started on such a course should be treated as attending it throughout any term or vacation within it until the end of the course.

His Lordship quite understood Hoffmann LJ in Clarke and Faul saying one could not sensibly have periods of term or vacation within the course "when the students are not attending the course at all" or Glidewell LJ that the intercalated year "cannot fairly be described as a period of either term or vacation within the course".

But in this case his Lordship had no problem in concluding that in semester 5, when the appellant was on a sandwich course, she was to be treated as attending a course of study and accordingly ineligible for income support.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £35000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £32000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London