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Tribunals (Scotland) Act 2014

The Act

3.The Act creates a new structure for tribunals dealing with devolved matters under the judicial leadership of the Lord President of the Court of Session as head of the Scottish Tribunals.

4.The main features covered by the Act are:

  • The creation of a First-tier Tribunal and an Upper Tribunal. The First-tier Tribunal will be divided into chambers, and the Upper Tribunal into divisions. The Act creates a simplified framework to provide coherence across the tribunals system. The Act allows the new structure to be capable of taking on new jurisdictions over time.

  • The First-tier Tribunal will deal with cases in the first instance to which a general right of appeal will lie to the Upper Tribunal. The Act does, however, allow for the functions of a listed tribunal to be transferred to either or both Tribunals and it is envisaged that the Upper Tribunal may receive first-instance functions which are particularly complicated or controversial. The Upper Tribunal also has an express function, which is set out in section 41 of the Act, to hear appeals from the First-tier Tribunal. It may also decide on petitions for judicial review which are transferred to it from the Court of Session under section 52.

  • The creation of a new office, the President of the Scottish Tribunals (“President of Tribunals”). The Lord President will be able to delegate some of the Lord President`s functions as Head of the Scottish Tribunals to the President of Tribunals.

  • The Act enables the First-tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal to review their own decisions where, for example, simple administrative errors have occurred. This does not affect the rights of appeal available.

  • The Act amends the Scottish Civil Justice Council and Criminal Legal Assistance Act 2013, to provide the Scottish Civil Justice Council (“SCJC”) with the power to propose rules of procedure for devolved Scottish tribunals.

  • Each tribunal is to be composed of its members and the Act provides a common system for appointing both legally qualified and lay members. The Act also allows for the transfer-in of members of a listed tribunal at the point when its functions are transferred-in to the Scottish Tribunals. Members of the judiciary are also enabled to be assigned to act as tribunal members. Reflecting the primary functions of both tribunals, a sheriff will be eligible to act as a member of both the First-tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal while a judge of the Court of Session will be eligible to act as a member of the Upper Tribunal.

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the Scottish Government to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.


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