The Tribunals (Scotland) Act 2014
Consultation on two sets of Draft Regulations which make provision for: a time limit within which to seek permission to appeal a decision of the Scottish Tribunals and Rules of Procedure for the Upper Tribunal; and offences in the Scottish Tribunals.
LITRG has submitted a joint response with the Chartered Institute of Taxation to the Scottish Government consultation on secondary legislation for The Tribunals (Scotland) Act 2014. Although the Scottish Tribunals do not currently deal with tax cases, we expect the Scottish Tax Tribunals to become part of the Scottish Tribunals in Spring 2017. We have responded to this consultation in the light of these anticipated future developments, to ensure that the regulations and rules of procedure are appropriate for tax cases.
The response notes that effective case management is essential, both in ensuring that special needs are catered for and that cases are heard efficiently and by the most appropriate panel. We note that appeals can be biased against those unable to afford representations – it is important that case management does not exacerbate this.
While we think the 30 day time limit proposed is acceptable, we raise concerns about a lack of balance, in that the time period runs from the date of sending or issue (by the Tribunal) to the date when the application is received (by the Tribunal) from the appellant. It would be more equitable if the 30 day period used the same basis for each party: date of receipt for both, or date of sending for both.
In respect of offences, and in particular that of failure to attend or give evidence, we point out that the regulations should be amended, so that it is clear that an offence could only arise where a party was in no doubt that the tribunal was exercising a power requiring attendance.
The LITRG evidence can be found here.