The Scottish Tribunals Service
This provides the administrative support for a number of Scottish tribunals, including the following:
Additional Support Needs Tribunals for Scotland
I have reviewed this website previously (more than once, I believe) and it remains a very good website. Pretty easy to navigate – good explanations of procedure and jurisdiction for non-legal users, and access to relevant forms, legislation, guidance and decided cases for lay and legal representatives alike.
Lands Tribunal for Scotland
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much to this website. However, dig a little deeper and in fact it is every bit as impressive as the ASNTS site (above). That it took a short while to get to grips with the navigation system and therefore realise that there was more content lurking behind links on the left hand side of the screen is only a minor quibble.
For, after all, that additional content is very useful indeed. This is a tribunal where parties are much more likely to be legally represented, and the website reflects this. Having said that, it is an area of the law with which I am entirely unfamiliar and yet the description of its jurisdiction and how to make a claim was easy enough to understand. Easy access to the relevant forms, the Tribunal rules and even the statutory instruments setting the fees is to be commended. The frequently asked questions sections would be of real use to the novice or unrepresented applicant as well – no mean feat!
The previous decisions section allows browsing by type of case as well as a more general “key word” search. The site might benefit from a more detailed search form, but the current set-up works reasonably well.
Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland
The Mental Health Tribunal website is an extensive one, which covers not just details about its own procedures, jurisdiction etc, but also information about and links to relevant other information in the field. The tribunal meets in different venues across Scotland, and the website has a useful widget which allows you to find (on an interactive map) each of the venues, together with details about the building itself, including disability access, transport links etc.
The nature of the jurisdiction (or the volume of cases) is perhaps the reason that decisions are not reported on the site, although there is a monthly list of case numbers and outcomes of cases heard.
As with the previous websites, there are links to the tribunal rules, application and appeal forms, and useful “how to” information is made available and is well presented, too.
Pensions Appeal Tribunals – Scotland
This is a pretty poor quality website all told. It doesn’t look very nice, and has very little information on how to progress an appeal. The broad “about us” and FAQ sections are okay, but there is none of the detail to be found on the other sites. Want to make an appeal? You have to get a form from the Veterans Agency. You then have to go to another page on the website to find the link to the Veterans Agency. Which doesn’t work any more. Simply not good enough.
Just before you leave though, there is a near encyclopaedic “Medical Appendix” which gives a concise but detailed summary of a plethora of medical conditions listed A-Z. On the assumption that these are taken from the information which will be used by the tribunal, this is a useful section – if not, then I’d probably stick with NHS Choices (www.nhs.uk).
The Veterans Agency website is now at www.veterans-uk.info, so whoever updates the Pension Appeals Tribunals website can do so now.
Private Rented Housing Panel
The pick of the bunch this month, this website is everything you’d want from a tribunal website, delivering all the information and resources you’d need to bring a claim and have seen in other websites, but delivering it in a very attractive package and making it very easy to navigate as well. The search function for the decided cases is easily the best of all those reviewed.
Some of the information available in the downloaded documents might have been made available on the site proper as well, but this is a fairly minor complaint in the grand scheme of things.
Scottish Charity Appeals Panel
Space precludes a detailed treatment of this website, which is actually pretty good all told.
If the websites are anything to go by, we are a long way from a unified Scottish Tribunal. There is no consistency in website styles or content, or even in the nomenclature. “Tribunal”, “Tribunals” or “Panel”? Is there a difference? And why are some of the URLs “.gov.uk” and others “.org.uk”? We may never know.
Who writes this column?
The website review column is written by Iain A Nisbet of Govan Law Centre
In this issue
- Breaking new ground
- A&A accounts and abatements
- What price privacy?
- Power struggle
- Rural peace?
- Damages for our times
- Grief revalued
- Up to speed?
- Into Africa
- Expenses review opens with invitation on issues
- Law reform update
- From the Brussels office
- Dundee students join advice network
- The learning curve
- Ask Ash
- Guiding hands
- Marriage made in heaven?
- Email on the spot
- One for the accused to prove
- Going for growth
- A brake on termination?
- The colour yellow
- All change on the croft
- Natural justice in play
- Website review
- Book reviews
- A time of opportunity
- Rural property - Who wants to be a green wellie conveyancer?
- Rural property - Buying and selling: pitfalls and problems
- Rural property - In the taxman's sights
- Rural property - Farm tenancies: more changes imminent
- Now we are 10