A new structure for tribunals in Scotland comes into effect on Thursday 1 December 2016
Chamber launch marks new era for tribunals
A new structure for tribunals in Scotland comes into effect on Thursday 1 December 2016 with the launch of the Housing and Property Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland and the Upper Tribunal for Scotland.
The Tribunals (Scotland) Act 2014 created a modernised format bringing devolved tribunal jurisdictions together. The Act creates two new tribunals, the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland and the Upper Tribunal for Scotland, known collectively as the Scottish Tribunals. Administration of the tribunals will continue to be provided by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS).
The Housing and Property Chamber will take over the work of the former Private Rented Housing Panel (PHRP) and the Homeowner Housing Panel (HOHP) dealing with property issues. It will hear disputes on rents, repairs and access for landlords to their properties as well as helping to resolve disputes that arise between homeowners and property factors.
From December 2017 it will also start to hear more private rented sector cases – including the new letting agents’ regime, transfer of jurisdiction from the sheriff courts and new private tenancies.
The second tier of the new structure – the Upper Tribunal for Scotland – will act as the appeal body for decisions made by the Chamber, rather than such appeals being heard in the courts.
The Housing and Property Chamber will have a new dedicated website at www.housingandpropertychamber.scot and administration of the new tribunals is based in new offices at Atlantic Quay, Glasgow. Hearings will continue to take place at existing locations.
The President of the Housing and Property Chamber will be Mrs Aileen Devanny – currently President of PRHP and HOHP.
The President of Scottish Tribunals, the Rt Hon Lady Smith, who has led the Chamber implementation programme said: “When I was assigned to the office of President of Tribunals, I said that I recognised the challenge for me was to turn the dry prose of the new legislative structure into human reality in a way that enabled all involved to be justifiably proud of their achievements. That applies as much now as it did then, particularly as the Housing and Property Chamber embarks on a new way of working.
“I am very grateful to the many people who have worked so hard to get it to this stage, ready and able to achieve its objectives of treating all parties equally, dealing with cases proportionately according to their level of complexity, dealing with them expeditiously and delivering efficient and effective decision making of high quality.”
Mrs Devanny said: ”Considerable work has gone into the creation of the new tribunals which should provide a flexible framework to meet changing demands for legal dispute resolution into the 21st Century. As Housing and Property Chamber President, I am delighted to take this new structure forward and acknowledge the hard work of everyone involved in delivering this important project.”
Welcoming the establishment of the new Chamber the Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, Annabelle Ewing, said: “This is a significant milestone and first step in reforming the tribunal system in Scotland. The new Chamber safeguards the distinct ethos of this jurisdiction and ensures users benefit from accessible and fair proceedings, which are handled quickly and effectively by experienced, specialist tribunal members.”
The Housing and Property Chamber is the first in a number of Chambers that will be established to form the First-tier Tribunal. Others will include the Tax Chamber, Health and Education Chamber, the Mental Health Chamber and the General Regulatory Chamber.