Keith Wilding welcomes the less adversarial and more flexible approach taken to welfare benefit fraud prosecution under the new tribunals rules

It is not only lawyers that know that the “burden of proof” in criminal and civil matters is different. But what happens when there are cases running at the same time in both the civil and criminal jurisdictions? Does one become a prejudiced rehearsal of the other?

This is a not uncommon concern in a welfare benefit fraud prosecution where it has also been decided that any overpaid money recoverable because it has been paid following alleged misrepresentation of, or a failure to disclose, the true position. Is failure to challenge the overpayment detrimental to the defence in the criminal case? Will a challenge allow the prosecution to firm up its weak points? And which should come first, the civil case or the criminal one?

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