Part 8: Draft regulations providingprocedural rules in the Upper Tribunal post-transfer.
Lands Tribunal for Scotland (LTS)
79. It is intended that the Upper Tribunal for Scotland will hear first instance appeals against rating assessments for non-domestic premises which are currently heard by the LTS.
80. The Upper Tribunal for Scotland (Rules of Procedure) Regulations 2016 (“2016 Regulations”) provide rules of procedure for the Upper Tribunal, but these relate to appeals from the First-tier Tribunal only and so it is necessary to constitute new rules for the Upper Tribunal when it sits as an initial appellate tribunal.
81. Procedural rules for the LTS are set out in the Lands Tribunal for Scotland Rules 2003 (“the 2003 Rules”). Part IV of those Rules deals with the referral of valuation for rating appeals from a VAC under section 1(3A) of the Lands Tribunal Act 1949 and Part V provides general rules of procedure for cases before the Lands Tribunal.
82. It seems sensible that the rules of procedure for the Upper Tribunal when considering appeals against rating assessments referred from the First-tier Tribunal should be based on Parts IV and V of the 2003 Rules. The Upper Tribunal procedural rules as set out in the 2016 Regulations relate only to appeals against decisions of the First-tier Tribunal. In its new role as an initial appellate tribunal it does not appear to be necessary or appropriate to replace or significantly alter rules of procedure which are considered to be suitable, simply because those cases will now be heard by the Upper Tribunal. There is also thought to be good reason to mainly retain rules with which the members of the LTS are familiar, given that when sitting in relation to valuation matters the Upper Tribunal will initially be composed of those same members.
83. The rules of procedure set out in Parts IV and V of the 2003 Rules have therefore been largely replicated for the Upper Tribunal for cases which will now be heard by the Upper Tribunal rather than the LTS, though some changes are considered necessary or appropriate to ensure consistency with procedures for other matters in the Upper Tribunal.
84. The VACs and CTRRP do not currently charge fees to lodge an appeal. The LTS does, however, currently charge fees for appeals under the Valuation Acts against rateable value of non-domestic premises. The applicable fees are those set out in the schedule of the Lands Tribunal for Scotland (Amendment) (Fees) Rules 1996.
85. Consideration was given to the introduction of new fees to transfer some of the cost of running the Local Taxation Chamber and Upper Tribunal from the taxpayer to those using the system who can afford to pay. It is thought that such a change may help to reduce frivolous or weak appeals, although it may be suggested that charging fees will disproportionately affect those who cannot afford to bring an appeal, regardless of the strength of their case.
86. As the introduction of fees is not intended to deter parties from bringing an appeal, new fees will not be introduced, but will be retained in relation to NDR cases which are referred to the Upper Tribunal, in line with existing fees charged in respect of an appeal to the LTS. This will maintain the status quo. No fees will be payable for an appeal of a decision of the First-tier Tribunal to the Upper Tribunal.
See supporting documents for associated regulations.
Questions on Draft Regulation
Q11: Do you have any comments on the proposed rules of procedure in Annex G for the Upper Tribunal when it deals with appeals against rating assessments which are referred to it by the Local Taxation Chamber?
Q12: Do you agree that fees should be charged for appeals against rating assessments which are referred to the Upper Tribunal?
Q13: Do you agree that any such fees should be charged in the Upper Tribunal on a sliding scale depending on the rateable value of the property concerned as is the case with cases referred/appealed to the LTS at the moment?
Q14: Do you think that fees should be charged for non-domestic rates appeals in the Local Taxation Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal?
Q15: Do think that fees are appropriate for other cases to be heard in the Local Taxation Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal?
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