An overview of Scottish Tribunals

An overview of Scottish Tribunals

Understanding Scottish Tribunals: A Primer

Scotland has a number of tribunals that can hear and make decisions on specific disputes. In recent years, tribunals have expanded with more disputes being heard by tribunals which would traditionally have been before a court. The current framework for a number of Tribunals was simplified in the Tribunals (Scotland) Act 2014 to establish a First-tier Tribunal and an Upper Tribunal.

Types of Tribunal

The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland is separated into chambers with each chamber hearing disputes on a specific area. For instance, the Housing and Property Chamber considers disputes between private landlords and tenants, or disputes involving factors. Indeed, under the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) 2016 Act,  the sheriff court no longer has jurisdiction to hear disputes arising from a private residential tenancy and accordingly, and claim must be raised before the First-tier Tribunal.

Gilson Gray has a large Debt Recovery Team who specialise in landlord/tenant and factor disputes.

Other chambers within the First-tier Tribunal such as the Tax Chamber and the Social Security Chamber to name a few will decide on disputes in their particular areas of expertise as well.

However the Tribunals (Scotland) Act 2014 does not provide for all types of Tribunal. The Lands Tribunal for Scotland is able to deal with disputes on a variety of issues that relate to land and property. Similarly, the Pensions Appeals Tribunal and the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland are separate from the First-tier Tribunal and are administered by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service.

Gilson Gray can deal with cases in most Scottish Tribunals as well as appeals from Tribunals to the Court of Session and Supreme Court.


The intention behind Tribunals is to enable cases to be dealt with by decision makers who have specialised knowledge and expertise. The increased use of tribunals can allow for faster resolutions to disputes is are generally aimed at improving accessibility for users. Increased efficiency can also have the impact of reducing legal costs for those who are involved in a tribunal claim. In addition, many tribunals also have detailed guidance written in clear language available on their website to assist those involved in a tribunal claim.


Each Tribunal or chamber has their own rules and processes which require to be followed. Some tribunals such as the Land Tribunal also publish detailed guidance on their website. Other tribunals, such as the Employment Tribunal, have rules which require to be followed strictly.

The processes and rules will depend upon which tribunal or chamber hears the dispute. It is therefore very important to be clear about what is required and any deadlines that need to be adhered to when you are considering raising a claim or responding to one brought before a Tribunal.

Legal Representation

Parties dealing with a tribunal claim should give consideration to instructing a solicitor. Although this is not required, it can be helpful to ensure that required steps are being taken timeously.

If you are seeking assistance with a tribunal claim, please contact Laura Brennan.

Laura Brennan
Senior Solicitor, Litigation
Phone:0131 516 5354

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