Combining the administration of the many different tribunal systems is a good idea, says John Pentland MSP, but it should not be at the expense of the support for users and the expertise that has been built up in the separate systems.
There are over forty different Tribunals, dealing with issues such as mental health, benefits, employment and pensions. Some are devolved, some reserved and UK wide, and some reserved but Scottish based.
John Pentland said:
“I think these reforms should be about the needs of users, not simply saving money. Tribunals combine specialist knowledge with a less formal – and less costly – approach than courts. While the tribunal system could benefit from a more consistent approach, we don’t want to lose their strengths.
“Combining the support for tribunals to get rid of duplication is fine, as long as it does not mean adopting a one-size-fits-all system. The interests of users should not be sacrificed for the sake of cheaper administration. Securing speedy outcomes should not mean overlooking important details.
“If you want to have a say in what happens to the tribunal system, now is your chance, This Scottish Government is consulting on these reforms, so let them know what you think – help make sure that tribunals provide access, and don’t become an obstacle to justice.”