Judicial responsibility for Scottish Tribunals

The training, welfare and conduct of members of the Scottish Housing and Property Tribunals are now the responsibility of Scotland’s most senior judge, under changes to Scotland’s justice system which come into effect today, 1 December 2016.

The Lord President has delegated his responsibility for the efficient disposal of business, the review of the professional competency of ordinary and legal members, and the policies for assignment of the ordinary, legal and judicial members within the First-tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal, to Lady Smith, the President of Scottish Tribunals. She was assigned to that office by the Lord President on 14 July 2014. 

The First-Tier Tribunal will comprise a number of divisions, known as Chambers. The first Chamber is the Housing and Property Chamber, established today. It performs the functions of the former Private Rented Housing Panel (PHRP) and the Homeowner Housing Panel (HOHP) in relation to tenancy and property related disputes. 

The Lord President, Lord Carloway said: “The main policy objective of the Tribunals (Scotland) Act 2014 is to create a new, two-tier structure for devolved tribunals in Scotland – known as the Scottish Tribunals – comprising a First-tier Tribunal for first instance decisions and an Upper Tribunal primarily for dealing with appeals. 

”The creation today of the First-Tier Tribunal Housing and Property Chamber is the first under the new system, which will benefit from a common system of leadership, appointments, practice and procedures for reviews and appeals.” 

Lady Smith, who has led the Chamber implementation programme said: “When I was assigned to the office of President of Tribunals, I said that I recognised the challenge for me was to turn the dry prose of the new legislative structure into human reality in a way that enabled all involved to be justifiably proud of their achievements. That applies as much now as it did then, particularly as the Housing and Property Chamber embarks on a new way of working.  

“I am very grateful to the many people who have worked so hard to get it to this stage, ready and able to achieve its objectives of treating all parties equally, dealing with cases proportionately according to their level of complexity, dealing with them expeditiously and delivering efficient and effective decision making of high quality.” 

Over the next two years additional Chambers will be created, including a Mental Health Chamber, a Health and Education Chamber, a Tax Chamber and a General Regulatory Chamber. 

Appeals from the First-tier Tribunal will be determined by the second tier of the new structure, the Upper Tribunal for Scotland. 

Appeals from decisions of the Upper Tribunal will be heard by the Court of Session. 

For further information about the launch of the First-tier Tribunal Housing and Property Chamber, read the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service news release.