A new body, the Administrative Justice & Tribunals Council, has been established to replace the Council on Tribunals. The new body will retain oversight over tribunals and inquiries, as well as seeking to improve the way in which administrative justice is administered.
The previous body, the Council on Tribunals, was set up in 1958 on the back of the Franks Report on Administrative Tribunals and Enquiries. It sought to ensure that tribunals and inquiries met the needs of users through the provision of an open, fair, impartial, efficient, timely and accessible service.
The new body, the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council, was established by the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007. It is tasked with keeping under review the administrative justice system as a whole with a view to making it accessible, fair and efficient. In particular, the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council seeks to ensure that the relationships between the courts, tribunals, ombudsmen and alternative dispute resolution providers satisfactorily reflect the needs of users.
As with the previous Council on Tribunals, the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council has separate representation in Wales and Scotland. The Scottish Committee of the Council is made up of:
- the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration;
- the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman;
- the two or three other members of the Council as a whole who are appointed by the Scottish Ministers; and
- three or four other persons, not being members of the Council itself, appointed by the Scottish Ministers.
The Scottish Committee has looks at both UK-wide tribunals which sit in Scotland, as well as appromiately twenty Scottish tribunals such as NHS discipline committees and children's hearings. The Scottish Committee will produce its own Annual Report to the Scottish Ministers, which will be laid before the Scottish Parliament. It is currently based in Edinburgh.