An overview of the historical reasons and developing practice in the use of members with special expertise (such as registered medical practitioners and chartered accountants) in tribunals. The deference of the appellate jurisdictions to the specialist expertise of the first tier tribunals.
Specialist expertise cannot be taken for granted and may require induction training. How can a tribunal ensure that it uses its expertise both profitably and fairly? Members should not give evidence to themselves which the parties have had no opportunity to challenge. However, the tribunal’s specialist expertise may be used to evaluate the evidence before it. Ideally, even when doing this, the parties will be given an opportunity to comment on this expert evaluation.