Tribunals (Scotland) Act 2014: Consultation on Draft Regulations making provision in relation to social security appeals
The consultation deals with six sets of regulations, designed to create a new chamber of the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland – the Social Security Chamber – and make provision for the Upper Tribunal. Much of our response focuses on the draft rules of procedure for the First-tier Tribunal Social Security Chamber for Scotland and the Upper Tribunal for Scotland. For the most part, the proposed rules of procedure draw on the current rules for the UK First-tier Tribunal Social Entitlement Chamber and Upper Tribunal. There are also elements that reflect the existing rules of procedure for the Scottish Tribunals. On the whole, we welcome this approach. There are areas, however, where we think improvements could be made, and we draw attention to those areas in our response.
There are some important principles to bear in mind. It is important that the tribunals are independent – both in fact (real independence) and appearance (perceived independence) – from the Scottish Social Security agency; the tribunal system must be accessible to all; appellants must be fully advised of their appeal rights and be provided with adequate and neutral guidance on tribunal procedures.
Effective case management is key, and in this regard we welcome the explicit requirement in the rules for the tribunals to have regard to the Scottish Social Security Charter.