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1.4.2 No Duplication in Dealing with Representatives of Claimants
It is important that where a client elects to be represented by a legal firm or an ESO advocate, all correspondence concerning the case is directed to the representative. It is then the responsibility of the representative to inform the claimant accordingly.
A letter from a solicitor on a Firm's letterhead advising that they act for a client is sufficient evidence that a solicitor has the authority to legally represent the nominated client.
When a client appoints a representative, that appointment is to act for the claimant, thereby effectively removing the claimant's rights to deal directly with the department until such time as that appointment is revoked.
There will be times when the claimant will ring or visit offices seeking information on their claim. This could cause problems where the appointed representative is not aware of the direct dealing with the client. However, a pragmatic approach should be adopted in these situations if the client insists we should deal with his or her enquiry. The appointed representative should be informed of the detail of any dealings with the client to ensure consistency of communication.
NOTE: Where a client has given a representative authority to act on their behalf on an initial liability claim form (D2020, D2051 or D2582), and no benefit selection has been made, authorisation ceases at the time of the initial liability determination or any review of the decision. If, however, the client ticks a benefit they are seeking on the claim form, the representation would continue beyond the initial liability decision to include those ongoing entitlement assessments (including needs assessments).