Will the new Tribunals Bill simplify and improve the current system, asks the Justice Committee?

05.06.2013

Are you a parent who has gone to an Education Appeals Committee on behalf of a child or have you appealed the banding of your council tax to a Valuation Appeal Committee? If so, your views are wanted by Justice Committee.

The Committee has today published a call for evidence on the Tribunals (Scotland) Bill asking for views from those who sit on, use or have had any experience of tribunals, on the proposed new structure for devolved tribunals in Scotland.

The Bill will create a two-tier structure of a First-tier Tribunal, where most business will take place, and an Upper Tribunal to hear appeals and some hearings. It also proposes transferring existing devolved tribunals such as the Additional Support Needs Tribunals for Scotland and the Lands Tribunal for Scotland to the new structure. Changes to the leadership, personnel and appointment process to Scottish Tribunals, as well as the reviews and appeals process are also proposed.

Committee Convener Christine Grahame MSP said:

“Sometimes when people hear the word “tribunals,” they yawn. But tribunals like the Education Appeals Committee deal with the nitty-gritty that has a direct impact and relevance on peoples’ daily lives. We want to hear from people who have had experience of using or sitting on tribunals as well as those in the legal profession on whether they believe the proposed new structure will streamline the tribunals’ process and improve the quality of services provided.

“Is it right to make appointments to tribunals through the Judicial Appointment Board for Scotland and will the creation of a new office, the President of the Scottish Tribunals, improve the openness, fairness and impartiality of decision making in tribunals?

“These issues, together with proposed new changes to the organisation, rule-making powers and appeals process will have an impact on thousands of organisations and individuals, and we are keen to hear from as many of them as possible.”

A link to the call for evidence which should be submitted before Friday 2 August can be found here:

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/29845.aspx

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