The High Court has ruled that the Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith took "an unlawful and unacceptably long time" to pay new disabled benefits.

The two unnamed claimants who brought the cases argued delays in providing personal independence payments (PIPS), which replaced Disability Living Allowance in 2013, breached their common law and human rights by not making the payments in a timely fashion.

Mrs Justice Patterson, who presided over the cases, ruled that the delay was "not only unacceptable, as conceded by the defendant but was unlawful", Sky News reported.

The Department for Work and Pensions was keen to stress that while the ruling did declare the delays unlawful, that the court did not agree they had breached the claimants' human rights.

A spokeswoman for the department told the IBTimes: "The court has not ruled that it was a breach of Human Rights."

In statement, the Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson has said: "The Court has rightly dismissed the claimants' absurd suggestion that their human rights had been breached. As a result they are not entitled to damages.

"We have taken decisive action to speed up PIP waiting times and we are pleased the Court has recognised the huge progress made. The average new PIP claimant now waits only seven weeks for an assessment."

Labour and number of disabled charities can be expected to make political hay from the ruling. They have criticised the government and Iain Duncan Smith for the change to PIPs.

According to recent figures from the DWP around 78,700 claims are still outstanding from individuals waiting to find out if they will receive PIP payments.