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Secretary of State for Work & Pensions v Walker-Fox [2005] EWCA Civ 1441

The principles of law enunciated in Emmott v Minister of Social Welfare (1991) ECR I-5475 should be confined to very exceptional circumstances, namely, where in some unconscionable way the state had obstructed the exercise of the individual's judicial remedy or contributed to his failure to exercise it. Such conduct would make it a breach of the principle of effectiveness. The secretary of state in the instant case had not behaved unfairly in denying winter fuel payments to an individual.

9 December 2005

The appellant secretary of state appealed against a decision of the Deputy Social Security Commissioner that the respondent (W) was entitled to winter fuel payments for the winters of 2000/01 and 2001/02. W was 60 years old and resident in the United Kingdom when the Social Fund Winter Fuel Payment Regulations 1998 came into force. He was then too young to claim a winter fuel payment. He had since been resident in France. The 1998 Regulations were revoked and by the Social Fund Winter Fuel Payment Regulations 2000 a payment was payable so long as the person was ordinarily resident in the UK. By Council Regulation 1408/71 old-age benefits acquired under the legislation of one or more member states could not be suspended or withdrawn because of the fact that the recipient resided in the territory of a member state other than that in which the institution responsible for payment was situated. The government maintained that the residence condition in reg 2(1)(a) of the 2000 Regulations bar...

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