Frequently Asked Questions
Implementing the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement (TCE) Act 2007
- 1. What does the Act do?
- 2. Can I appeal against a decision made by the First–tier Tribunal?
- 3. Can I appeal against a decision of the Upper Tribunal?
- 4. What are the changes being introduced?
- 5. Who will the TCE Act affect?
- 6. What is the Tribunal Procedure Committee, why do I need to know about them?
- 7. Who is the Senior President and what does he do?
1. What does the TCE Act do?
The Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (the "Act") created a new judicial and legal framework headed by the Senior President of Tribunals. There are two new tiers (layers) of Tribunal; a First–tier Tribunal and an Upper Tribunal, into which most existing tribunal jurisdictions have been transferred. The Act also provided for the establishment of "Chambers" within each of the two Tribunals comprising groups of similar jurisdictions. More information about the two new Tribunals can be found using the links held on the right hand side of this page.
2. Can I appeal against a decision made by the First–tier Tribunal?
Yes. Under section 11 of the Act the Upper Tribunal will provide the normal route of appeal, or review, from decisions of the First–tier Tribunal on a point of law. However, an appeal will not be allowed if it is classed as ‘excluded’ on the face of the Act or in any order made by the Lord Chancellor. Excluded jurisdictions are Asylum Support and Criminal Injuries Compensation. Challenges to First–tier Tribunal decisions in these jurisdictions can only be made by way of judicial review.
Previously there was no single mechanism for appealing against a tribunal´s decision. Appeal rights differed from tribunal to tribunal. In some cases there was a right of appeal to another tribunal; in other cases there was a right of appeal to the High Court; and in some cases there was no right of appeal at all. The 2007 Act changes this by providing a unified appeal structure.
The rights to appeal may only be exercised with permission from the First–tier Tribunal or the Upper Tribunal.
3. Can I appeal against a decision of the Upper Tribunal?
A decision of the Upper Tribunal may be appealed to the Court of Appeal. The grounds of appeal must always relate to a point of law. However, an appeal will not be allowed if it is classed as ‘excluded’ on the face of the Act or in any order made by the Lord Chancellor.
4. What are the changes being introduced?
The main change was the establishment of the two new Tribunals. The Upper Tribunal mainly, but not exclusively, reviews and decides appeals from the First–tier Tribunal. It will also have power to deal with judicial review work delegated from the High Court and Court of Session. The First-tier Tribunal will be the first instance tribunal for most jurisdictions.
Each Tribunal is divided into Chambers, which group together jurisdictions dealing with like subjects or where individual Panels need the same types of skilled members. All of the existing tribunal judges and members (apart from General Commissioners for Income Tax) are transferring into the new system at the same time as their jurisdiction transfers and they continue to hear the same types of cases that they did previously.
In time judges and members may be able to hear cases from other jurisdictions, but only where there is a need and where they have the skills and experience to do so.
The following Tribunal Chambers currently exist;
Social Entitlement Chamber
Health, Education and Social Care Chamber
War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation Chamber
The General Regulatory Chamber
- Claims Management Services
- Consumer Credit
- Estate Agents
- Gambling Appeals
- Immigration Services
- Information Rights
- Local Government Standards in England; and
Immigration and Asylum Chamber
Details of Upper Tribunal Chambers are as follows:
5. Who does the TCE Act affect?
Under the Act, non devolved tribunal jurisdictions can be transferred to the new tribunal structure. Over time it is anticipated that most of the tribunals within the Tribunals Service will transfer into the new structure.
6. What is the Tribunal Procedure Committee, and why do I need to know about them?
The Tribunal Procedure Committee was set up under the Act to make procedural rules for the new Tribunals. Each Chamber has its own set of rules, which will be supported by Practice Directions and Statements. More information on the Tribunal Procedure Committee is available on the Rules & Legislation page of this website.
7. Who is the Senior President and what does he do?
Sir Robert Carnwath, a Court of Appeal Judge, has been appointed as the first Senior President of Tribunals. The Senior President´s responsibilities under the Act are modelled, in many aspects, on those of the Lord Chief Justice, including responsibility for representing the views of the tribunal judiciary to Ministers, Parliament and for training, guidance and welfare. In addition to the powers under the Act, the Lord Chief Justice has delegated to the Senior President some of his powers under the Constitutional Reform Act, particularly in relation to judicial discipline of most tribunal judges and members.