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  • Created by: Amy
  • Created on: 13-02-14 12:57


  • Tribunals operate alongside the court system 
  • Created in the second half of the twentieth century - develping welfare state
  • Created in order to give people a method fo enforcing their entitlement to social rights
  • Parties in tribunal cases cannot go to court to resolve their dispute
  • Ofers an alternative to court which is less formal, costly and precedural 
  • There are 2 Types of Tribunals 
    • Administrative - invididual and the state (also employment)
    • Domestic - within a profession
  • Two tiers 
    • First tire - operativng in 7 chamers
    • Upper tire - opperating in 4 chambers

Tribunals follow the principles of matural justice, not precedence's. These principles are:

  • 1) The right to a fair hearing
  • 2) Absence of bias
  • 3) Reasons for decision
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Role Of Tribunals

Enforce rights which have been granted through social and welfare legislation. Many different rights that are entitled to a person, such as:

  • Right to mobility allowance for those who are too disabled to walk alot
  • Right to a payment of they are made redundant from work
  • Right not to be discriminated against
  • Right of immigrants to have a claim for political asylum heard

Just a few of the rights that tribunals deal with

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Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007

  • Reforms were recomended by Lord Justice Leggett to modernise tribunals and establish a single tribunal service
  • Simplified and would allocate cases to the appropriate tribunal
  • Reforms were reviewed and created the Tribunals, courts and Enforcement act 2007
  • Tribunals set up as the welfare state developed - new developments = new tribunals
  • Led to over 70 different types of tribunals
  • Each separate and using different procedures - confusing and complicated
  • Leggett critisised the system saying that is wasnt user friendly, no uniformity of procedure, lack of accessibility to the public and lacked independence
  • System was reformed by the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007
  • Created a unified structure for tribunals
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First Tier Tribunals

First Tier Tribunals

  • Deals with about 300,000 cases per year, has nearly 200 judges and 3,600 lay members within it
  • Operates in 7 chamebers:
    • Social Entitlement Chamber - child support, criminal injury compensation 
    • Health, Education and Social Care Chamber - Mental health review, special education need
    • War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation Chamber
    • General Regulatory Chamber
    • Taxation Chamber
    • Land, Property and Housing Chamber
    • Asylum and Immigration Chamber
  • Each chamber is headed by a chamber president who is a senior judge
  • NB Empolyment tribunals operate seperately 
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Upper Tribunals and Appeals

Upper Tribunals

  • Divided into 4 chambers:
    • Administratibe Appeals Chamber - Hearing appeals from Social Entitlement Chamber, Health, Education and Social care chamber and war pensions and armed forces compensation chamber
    • Tax and Chancery Chamber
    • Lands Chamber
    • Asylum and Immigration Chamber


  • From the first tier to the upper tier
  • From the upper chamber there is furter appeal routs to the court of appeal
  • From the court of appeal a final appeal can be giving to the supreme court
  • Appeals are on a point of law or if the priciples of natural justice were not kept
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Composition and Procedure


  • 1st tier tribunals are heard by a tribunal judge
  • For some cases, two lay members will sit with the judge to make the decision 
  • Lay members will have expertise in the particular field of the tribunal - eg medically qualified
  • In Empolyment Tribunals also two lam members. Usually 1 from employers' organisation and 1 from employees' organisation


  • Both sides are given the opportunity to put their case forward
  • Parties and their witnesses give evidence
  • Formal way (employment and asylum) - Witnesses give evidence on oath and are cross examined 
  • Funding for representation is only available for a few tribunals - most applicants present their own case - must put their case fully
  • Decision of a tribunal is binding
  • Free - bar employment tribunals
  • Legal aid is only availabe for tribumals of mental health revie and employment
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The Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council

  • Set up under the Tribunal, courts and enforcement act 2007
  • Replaced previouse council of tribunals - operated from 1957
  • Duties:
    • Keeping working of tribunals under review
    • Reporting on the constitution and working of tribunals
    • Considering and reporting on any other matters relating to tribunals
  • A memebr of the council may attend and observe any proceedings of a tribunal 
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Administrative Tribunals (including Employment Tri

  • Disputes between individual and state 
  • Apply law to the dispute between the parties
  • Can be a dispute between individuals

Employment Tribunals

  • All issues of employment - eg. discrimination, equal pay and unfair dismissal
  • 25 tribunals in England and Wales
  • Charge a fee (only one) to stop silly claims and loads of tribunals - ranging from £160 - £250 depending the detail involved in the dispute
  • Not a Chamber withing the First tier Tribunal system - can appeal to court of appel the supreme
  • Case example - Mirian O'Riely (ex contryfile presenter) dropped and replaced with a younger presenter. Made claim to employment tribunal for sex and age discrimination - Won case on age but not sex. Also won her claim of victimisation
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Domestic Tribunals

  • In house tribunal - within a profesion 
  • Concerned with prefessional regulations - professional conduct
  • Example - The General Medical Council (GMC) regulates the proffesional behaviour of GP's and can suspend or strike off GP's for misconduct
  • Professional bodies
  • Apply the rules of the organisation to the dispute

Inquire tribunals are set up to look as specific issues and make recomendations 

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1) Cheapness - represent themselves so no cost for lawyers. Do not normally involve the costs assosiated with court hearings. Applicant will not have a large bill of they lose the case

2) Quick hearing - most tribunals are very short and can be dealt with in a day

3) Informality - More informal that in court, parties encouradged to present their own case. Most cases are private

4) Expertise - two lay memebers sit to hear the case with the tribunal judge, experts on the type of case being heard. Gives them good knowledge and understanding of the issue in dispute

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1) Lack of funding - public funding is not available. Put the applicant at a disadvantage if the other side uses a lawyer. Lega aid is limited to cases where fundermental human rights are involved - very few

2) More formal than ADR - Unfamiliar place, and the procedure can be confusing for individuals presenting their own cases. Where applicants arnt represented the judge is expected to take an inquisitorial role to know fully the points the applicant wishes to make. Ideal but not always achived

3) Delay - intention is that cases are dealt with quickly. vast number causing delays. Use of a lay member can also add to this problem, sit part time usually only one day a fortnight. Complex case may last several days and can lead to proceedings being sperad over a number of weeks or even months.

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