Where they sit and what they do
Most tribunals are headed by a tribunal president. The Senior President of Tribunals is the statutory head of those jurisdictions within the First-tier and Upper Tribunals. These ‘super-tribunals’ have brought together over 20 tribunals into a single judicial structure where appeals from decisions of the First –tier are heard by the Upper Tribunal. The First–tier and Upper tribunals are sub divided into ‘chambers’ dealing with specific jurisdictions (for example the Social Entitlement Chambers covers social security and child support as well as asylum support and criminal injuries compensation) with a senior judicial leader (chamber president) at its head.
Tribunal/chamber presidents lead the jurisdiction of their tribunal, taking an active role in ensuring jurisprudential and practical consistency both in decision-making and in the setting and interpretation of practice and procedure throughout their tribunal. They also lead the judges and members within their chamber/tribunal and are the first port of call on welfare matters.
Where a particular tribunal sits in panels, the presidents will ensure that the approach to panel composition is such that, as far as practicable, cases are allocated to the members with the most relevant experience and expertise.
Each president will also consider carefully their tribunal’s requirements regarding recruitment and appointments in relation to the nature and number of the anticipated workload in that tribunal/chamber, and will then ensure that these requirements are communicated to those responsible for appointments.
Tribunal/chamber presidents can be selected from the ranks of existing High Court Judges or through open competitions run by the Judicial Appointments Commission.
Tribunal presidents wear normal business dress, not robes or wigs.