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Analysis of Consultation on Procedure of the First-tier Tribunal Housing and Property Chamber

The Scottish Government has recently published its analysis of the Consultation on Procedure of the First-tier Tribunal Housing and Property Chamber.

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The Scottish Government has recently published its analysis of the Consultation on Procedure of the First-tier Tribunal Housing and Property Chamber.

The consultation ran from 6 January until 31 March, and 21 responses were received – 20 of which were from organisations and one from an individual member of the public. A copy of the SFHA response is available on the Scottish Government website. 

There was broad support for the draft 2017 regulations but mixed views on the types of cases which should receive publicly-funded legal assistance. However, the majority of respondents agreed with some form of public-funded legal assistance being available across the range of tenancy-related applications where a tenant is at risk of repossession or a landlord or agent lose their livelihood.

Generally, it was expressed that the language is difficult to understand, and it was felt more could be done to phrase the regulations in plain English – in particular, it was felt there was too much legal language. It was suggested that a simple flow diagram with notes would be much easier and quicker to understand.

Other concerns centred around clarity on under what circumstances proceedings could be determined without a hearing, timescales for submitting documents and equivalence of treatment of the applicant and the defendant.

The Scottish Government policy intention is for publicly-funded legal assistance in the FTT to be considered on a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction basis in advance of the tribunals transferring into their respective chambers of the tribunal. At the moment, there is no provision for publicly-funded legal assistance in the Housing Chamber.

Some concern was raised regarding capacity of the new system and possible implications if it is not able to cope with the volume of cases generated. As a result it was recommended the situation be monitored closely and a formal review of the new system be carried out following the first year of operation.

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