Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland (MHTS) recruitment: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

Information in relation to my application to the vacancy of legal member of the MHTS. Specifically:

1) Who were the two parties who sifted through the applications?

2) What were the criteria they used in assessing the applications?

3) How many of the 10 vacancies apply to Aberdeen and the North East; and how many applicants based in Aberdeen and North East were selected for interview?

4) What is the average annual number of cases considered by the Tribunal and how is this figure broken down for Aberdeen and the North East?

5) How many active legal members [of the MHTS] are currently based in Aberdeen and the North East?

6) Given the strength of my application in terms of professional, family, charitable and personal experiences what sort of applications were given precedence?


1) The legal panel consisted of three members. Given the large number of applications received, the lead panel member scored all of the applications, with one of the other panel members scoring half and the other member scoring half. This meant that all applications were scored by two of the panel members.

The legal panel consisted of:

  • Panel member 1: [Name withheld under Section 38(1)(b) of FOISA] - In House Convenor, MHTS (Lead panel member)
  • Panel member 2: [Name withheld under Section 38(1)(b) of FOISA] – Head of Mental Health Law Unit, Scottish Government
  • Panel member 3: Laura Dunlop QC – President of the MHTS

You may find it helpful to know that all applications were anonymised and assigned a reference number before being passed to the relevant panel members for sifting.

You will see that two of the panel names have been redacted under section 38 (1)(b) of FOISA (personal information). This because it contains the names of officials below Senior Civil Service who have a higher expectation of privacy than their more senior colleagues, and disclosing these names would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exemption is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

2) The criteria used by the panel in scoring the applications was provided in the application pack (person specification). A copy of this is attached at Annex A for ease of reference.

3) The MHTS works across Scotland. Accordingly, vacancies were Scotland wide. Applications were anonymised upon receipt and the panel was not given any specific information in relation to where candidates were based. We can confirm that 1 applicant who provided a postcode based in the area covering North East Scotland, Orkney and Shetland was invited to a legal member interview. 

4) The average number of cases considered by the Tribunal annually, and how this average figure is broken down for Aberdeen and the North East, is an operational matter for the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service and as such the Scottish Government does not hold this information. Accordingly, you are provided with notice under Section 17 of FOISA that this information is not held.

You may wish to ask the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service for this information. The SCTS provides administrative support to the MHTS and can be contacted by email at, or by post at:
The Freedom of Information Officer
Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service Headquarters
Saughton House - Spur N1
Broomhouse Drive
EH11 3XD.

You may be interested, however, in the MHTS’s annual report, which is available to read here. You will see that page 4 of this report details the number of applications received by the Tribunal for the period covering 2011/12 – 2019/20.

5) A search of our records on 18 August 2021 shows that the MHTS currently has 4 legal members based in Aberdeen and the North East (for completeness, this figure can be broken down into 1 AB home postcode, and 3 IV home postcodes).

Please note that the Scottish Government is only formally advised of an address change for a member at the point of that member’s reappointment (every 5 years). Accordingly, these figures may not represent the most up to date legal membership figures for Aberdeen and the North East. Should you wish to obtain the most up to date figures, you should contact SCTS at the address detailed above.

6) We do not consider that this information constitutes a request under FOISA as you are asking for advice rather than recorded information held by the Scottish Government.

Given the large number of applications received in this recruitment round, the panel has advised that it cannot provide individual feedback to applicants at sifting stage. However, the Scottish Government advises all candidates applying for public appointments to refer closely to the person specification in completing their application.

7) We confirm that applications were scored on individual merit by the panel as per the person specification provided in the application pack (Annex A). The strongest applications were those which showed clear evidence of the requirements set out in the person specification.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

FOI - 202100229987 - Annex A


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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