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Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v Steele

DATE: 16 Dec 2005


In allowing the Secretary of State's appeal, the Court of Appeal (May LJ, Arden LJ and Sir Martin Nourse) held that until the Secretary of State had made a determination under s.71 of the Social Security Administration Act 1992 that benefits had been overpaid due a misrepresentation or failure to disclose a material fact, there was no obligation or liability to repay the overpayment. As the determination in question had been made after the benefit claimant had been adjudged bankrupt, the repayment was not a “contingent liability” under the Insolvency Act 1986 s.382 and the claimant was not discharged from liability to pay under s.281 when discharged from bankruptcy. Accordingly, the Secretary of State could continue to recover the outstanding overpayment after the discharge of the claimant's bankruptcy.


Daniel Kolinsky represented the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions who was successful in his appeal.