Tribunals (Scotland) Act 2014 - draft regulations: consultation

A consultation on draft regulations transferring the functions of the Council Tax Reduction Review Panel, the Valuation Appeals Committees and some functions of the Lands Tribunal for Scotland to the Scottish Tribunals.

Part 6: Draft regulations providing for the composition of the First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal

61. Sections 38 and 40 of the 2014 Act allow the Scottish Ministers to make provision in regulations to determine the composition of the First-tier and Upper Tribunals.

Valuation Appeal Committees (VACs)

62. Each VAC consists of a committee chairman and not less than three, or more than six, other members (regulation 10(2) of the Valuation Appeals Panels and Committees (Scotland) Regulations 1996 states that the quorum of a VAC will be three).

63. It is now proposed that, in dealing with cases which would have been dealt with by VACs, the First-tier Tribunal should usually sit as a panel of three members, which, depending on the nature of the case, would be comprised of either two ordinary members with valuation experience or one ordinary member with valuation experience and a second ordinary member with surveyor rating experience. In both instances they would be joined by a legally qualified member who will act as chair.

64. In council tax non-list appeals however, where the decision to be taken relates more to the circumstances of the individual applicant(s) rather than the circumstances of the building, it is proposed that the Tribunal may be composed of a single legal member.

Council Tax Reduction Review Panel (CTRRP)

65. At present a single legally qualified member of the CTRRP hears cases. This is provided for in regulation 90C(1) of the Council Tax Reduction (Scotland) Regulations 2012. Regulation 90D(8) provides that “in the circumstances of a particular case the Scottish Ministers may consider it appropriate for three members of the panel appointed under regulation 90C(1) to undertake the further review”. So far as we are aware, however, this provision has never been used and cases are always heard by one member.

66. The policy intention is for the First-tier Tribunal to mirror current arrangements whereby a single legally qualified member will hear the appeal in cases which would have previously been dealt with by the CTRRP.

Lands Tribunal for Scotland (LTS)

67. At present, the LTS would generally comprise a legal and a surveyor member when considering valuation for rating cases, though any one member of the LTS can sit as ‘the Tribunal’. Single (legal) members occasionally sit on their own for legal debates, though this is very rare.

68. We see no reason for any amendment to the composition criteria for this purpose when it becomes part of the Upper Tribunal and accordingly it is proposed that this will be replicated on transfer.

The Upper Tribunal

69. All NDR, VACs and LTS appeals which currently go to the Lands Valuation Appeal Court will continue to do so after transfer. However, under section 82(4) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, any party to an appeal in relation to council tax may appeal against a decision of the VACs on a point of law to the Court of Session. Post transfer it is intended that these appeals and those from the CTRRP will go to the Upper Tribunal instead, sitting as an appeal tribunal from decisions of the First-tier Tribunal. In such circumstances it is intended that judiciary of a similar standing will hear these appeals and provision is made for this in the regulations.

See supporting documents for associated regulations.

Questions on Draft Regulations

Q6: Do you have any comments on the draft regulations in Annex E regarding the proposed composition of the Local Taxation Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal?

Q7: Do you have any comments on the draft regulations in Annex E regarding the proposed composition of the Upper Tribunal when hearing Local Taxation Chamber referrals or appeals of referral decisions?

Q8: Do you have any comments on the draft regulations in Annex E regarding the proposed composition of the Upper Tribunal when hearing Local Taxation Chamber appeals?



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