Foreword and Editorial Note

Foreword by the Senior President of Tribunals

As the new Senior President, I continually remind myself of the need for members of tribunals to be experts in the subject-matter and the law to be applied in cases in which they make determinations.  Above all, it is a statutory responsibility and it applies to subject knowledge as well as legal knowledge in which all tribunal members are involved.

My predecessor as Senior President, together with the Lord Chief Justice, laid the groundwork by issuing the new Judicial Skills and Abilities Framework 2014 which brings together a single set of skills and abilities providing clear expectations common to all jurisdictions and against which judicial office-holders are selected, trained, encouraged and appraised.

The articles identified in this new Judicial College resource provide a further opportunity for encouragement and development.  As the Foreword to the Framework says, individual judicial office-holders can also use the Framework to identify their strengths, assess their personal development needs and consider their career aspirations against the clear statements of expectations.  This resource brings together a library of articles which will support each judicial officeholder in their personal and professional development.

For many years, members of tribunals have been assisted in developing and maintaining their generic judge-craft skills by a wide range of materials published in the Tribunals journal.  It is a resource which, especially as regards the back numbers, has been relatively inaccessible, particularly for new appointees.

Now that has changed.  David Bleiman and Stephen Hardy have compiled this helpful selection.  You may enjoy browsing through them all or you can focus on an area where you need to resolve an issue, refresh or polish your skills.

Rt Hon Sir Ernest Ryder
Senior President

January 2016

Editorial Note by David Bleiman and Stephen Hardy

We were tasked by the Editorial Board of Tribunals, with reviewing the resources available to judicial office-holders from the journal’s back catalogue to support the Judicial Skills and Abilities Framework 2014 (the Framework).

To that end, we applied the following exclusions in our search from relevance and quality:

  • Articles which were not relevant to judicial skills and/or out of date;
  • Articles about developments in specific tribunals, innovations and Chamber reports, which don’t engage with generic skills; and,
  • Articles covering the same territory – avoiding unnecessary duplication and preferring the most comprehensive and/or the most up-to-date article.

The result we hope is a helpful panoply of coherent, relevant and important articles, aligned to the core judicial skills. We have also included links to a few other key resources such as the Framework itself.

We have provided a short précis – just a few sentences- to indicate the subject matter of each article. To assist your own selection of reading matter to support your judicial skills development, the articles are tagged to the relevant headline skills in the Framework.  The skill of Possessing and Building Knowledge is not supported by many articles here. That’s unsurprising as the very exercise of reading articles relating to the generic judicial skills will show your ability and willingness to learn and develop professionally. As regards the detailed knowledge of law and subject expertise required in your own jurisdiction(s), that lies beyond the scope of this resource. Information and support is available from your own Tribunal or Chamber.

These articles represent the views of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Judicial College. Some review the relevant case authorities while others speak mainly from personal experience. Some are serious in tone, others more light hearted.

We are confident that you will enjoy learning from such a wide range of articles. Although they approach judge-craft skills from various perspectives, all authors share a common passion to help those who sit on tribunals to maintain high standards of adjudication while remaining sensitive to the needs of those appearing before us.

David Bleiman is a lay member of the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

Professor Stephen Hardy is a Judge of the First-tier Tribunal (Social Entitlement).

January 2016