Tribunals are central to our Scottish legal system and play a vital role in safeguarding people from potentially unfair treatment. They hear cases on a range of issues such as support for learning, the compulsory care and treatment of people with mental health disorders and disputes between tenants and landlords.
The following Tribunals exist in Scotland:
- The Additional Support Needs Tribunal for Scotland
- The Lands Tribunal for Scotland
- The Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland
- The Pensions Appeal Tribunal Scotland
- The Scottish Charity Appeals Panel
- The Private Rented Housing Panel
- The Homeowner Housing Panel
There are also a number of UK-wide tribunals which operate in Scotland dealing with matters such as employment, immigration and social security.
Despite the important role of Tribunals, the Minister for Legal Affairs, Roseanna Cunningham, has recently stated that “Tribunals are a central part of our justice system, providing access to justice for some of the most vulnerable people in our society. However the current system is overdue for reform – it has developed over a long time in different ways, with differing leadership structures, appointment processes and ways to appeal”.
Therefore, following a consultation exercise in Spring 2012, the Scottish Parliament has published the Tribunals Bill which is designed to introduce improvements. There will now be a two tier structure – the First Tier Tribunal for hearing first decision cases and the Upper Tribunal Scotland primarily for appeals from the first tier. A new appointment has been created, The President of Scottish Tribunals, who will be responsible for ensuring tribunal business runs efficiently and new independent appointment arrangements have been established.
The Minister for Legal Affairs concluded “By simplifying the tribunals’ structure and standardising some processes the Bill will make the system more user-friendly and effective, saving time and resources while retaining the benefits of the current specialised tribunals.”
Our court department can assist in representation at Tribunals. If you require further information please contact Paul Neilly (firstname.lastname@example.org).