Senior President’s statutory responsibilities

General powers and duties

A holder of the office of Senior President of Tribunals must, in carrying out the functions of that office, have regard to:

  • the need for tribunals to be accessible
  • the need for proceedings before tribunals
    • to be fair
    • to be handled quickly and efficiently
  • the need for members of tribunals to be experts in the subject-matter of, or the law to be applied in, cases in which they decide matters
  • the need to develop innovative methods of resolving disputes that are of a type that may be brought before tribunals (section 2).
  • Presiding over and being a member of the First-tier and Upper Tribunal (section 3(4), 5(1)(a) and 4(1)(c).
  • Power to lay before Parliament written representations on matters relating to tribunal members or the administration of justice by tribunals (schedule 1, paragraph 13).
  • Responsibility for representing the views of tribunal members to Parliament, the Lord Chancellor and Ministers of the Crown (schedule 1, paragraph 14).
  • Providing a report to the Lord Chancellor on matters which the Senior President wishes to bring to the attention of the Lord Chancellor and matters which the Lord Chancellor has asked the Senior President to cover (section 43).
  • Power to delegate any function to a judge or other member, of the Upper Tribunal or First-tier Tribunal, or to staff (section 8).
  • Duty of mutual co-operation with the Chief Justices in relation to their responsibilities for the training, welfare and guidance of the court judiciary (section 47).

Chambers and Chamber Presidents

Concurring in relation to the chambers structure for the First-tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal, and any change to it (section 7(1)).

Right to be consulted before the Lord Chancellor appoints a Chamber President from the court judiciary (schedule 4, paragraph 2(1)).

Power to appoint an Acting Chamber President (schedule 4, paragraph 6(1)).

Power to appoint a person who is a Chamber President to preside instead, or also, over another chamber (section 7(6)).

Power to appoint a person who is a Deputy Chamber President to be instead, or also, a Deputy Chamber President of another chamber (schedule 4, paragraph 5(2)). The Lord Chancellor must consult the Senior President about whether a Deputy Chamber President should be appointed for the chamber concerned (schedule 4, paragraph 5(3)).

Responsibilities for judges and members

Concurrence in relation to the making of orders prescribing the qualifications required for appointment of members of the First-tier Tribunal (Schedule 2, paragraph 2(2)) and the Upper Tribunal (schedule 3, paragraph 2(2)).

Power to request court judges to act as judges of the First-tier or Upper Tribunal (schedule 2 paragraph 6(2); schedule 3 paragraph 6(2)).

Duty to maintain appropriate arrangements for training, guidance and welfare of judges and other members of the First-tier and Upper Tribunal (schedule 2 paragraph 8; schedule 3 paragraph 9).

Power to take oaths of allegiance and judicial oaths (or to nominate someone to do so) from judges and other members of the First-tier and Upper Tribunal (schedule 2 paragraph 9, and schedule 3 paragraph 10) and Chamber Presidents, Deputy Chamber Presidents and Acting Chamber presidents (schedule 4, paragraph 8).

Power to assign judges and other members to chambers (schedule 4, paragraph 9), subject to a policy to be published following agreement with the Lord Chancellor (schedule 4, paragraph 13).

Choosing members to decide cases (schedule 4, paragraph 14).

Determining the number of members of the tribunal who are to decide a matter that fails to be decided by the First-tier and Upper Tribunal where the Lord Chancellor provides for it to be determined by the Senior President (schedule 4, paragraph 15).

Other functions

Making provision, with the concurrence of the Lord Chancellor, for the allocation of functions between chambers (section 7(9)).

Power to give Practice Directions as to practice and procedure. Unless these concern the application or interpretation of the law or the making of decisions, or criteria for determining which members may be chosen to decide categories of matter, the approval of the LC is required (section 23).

Approval of Practice Directions given by Chamber Presidents (section 23(5)(a)).

Right to be consulted prior to the Lord Chancellor making an order authorising him to enter contracts for the provision of staff to carry out the administrative work of the tribunals (section 40(5)).

Right to be consulted prior to the Lord Chancellor making an order prescribing fees payable in respect of tribunal proceedings or mediation conducted by staff (section 42(5)(a)).

Tribunal Procedure Committee

Being or nominating a member of the Tribunal Procedure Committee (it is expected that the Senior President or his nominee will chair the Committee)(schedule 5, paragraph 20).

Power to request the appointment of additional members of the Tribunal Procedure Committee (schedule 5, paragraph 24).

Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal

Duty to maintain appropriate arrangements for the training, guidance and welfare of members of panels of members of employment tribunals (section 5A).

Power to take the oath of allegiance and judicial oath from the Presidents and members of panels (section 5C).

Power to nominate a relevant tribunal judge or a relevant judge to act as a member of a panel of members of the Employment Tribunals, with the consent of the relevant chief justice as appropriate (section 5D(2)(a)).

Power to give Practice Directions about the procedure of Employment Tribunals. Unless these concern the application or interpretation of the law or the making of decisions, or criteria for determining which members may be chosen to decide categories of matter, the approval of the LC is required (section 7(A1)).

Approval of Practice Directions given by the Presidents (section 7A(2C)(a)).

A duty to maintain appropriate arrangements for the training, guidance and welfare of members of panels of judges and other members of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (section 24A).

The power to take the oath of allegiance and judicial oath from relevant appointees (section 24B).

The power to give Practice Directions about the procedure of the Employment Appeal Tribunal, Unless these concern the application or interpretation of the law or the making of decisions, or criteria for determining which members may be chosen to decide categories of matter, the approval of the LC is required (section 29A(1)(a)).

Approval of Practice Directions given by the President of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (section 29A(4)(a) and (6)(a)).

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