Friday, 4 September 2015

Administrative justice

The Scottish Tribunals & Administrative Justice Advisory Committee (STAJAC ) was established in November 2013 by the then Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, Roseanna Cunningham MSP.

"It was established as an interim committee with a lifespan of two years, ending in November 2015. The Committee is non-statutory in nature. It was established to play a vital role in championing the needs of users across the administrative justice and tribunals system in Scotland, to provide external scrutiny of the system in devolved areas, and to highlight any issues to Scottish Ministers."

"As part of its remit, one of the functions of the STAJAC is "to recommend how the functions of the Committee should be carried out in the longer term."

"The consultation on the future arrangements for carrying out the functions of the STAJAC ran for six weeks from the 8th May until the 17th June 2015."

"It was a targeted consultation and sent to over 400 stakeholders with an interest in the administrative justice system. One of the questions was:"
Do you agree that there is a need for a committee such as STAJAC?;

There were 17 responses and 14 out of 17 agreed that there was a need for such a committee.

The children`s hearing system neither agreed nor disagreed and did not address the questions.

We do not have comment to make on the specific questions asked as part of the consultation. However, we would welcome clarification about whether the children’s hearings system is included within the proposed remit of the future committee. A children’s hearing is a Scottish tribunal but we would not consider the children’s hearings system to be "administrative justice".

This is an extraordinary statement given that the children`s hearing system has the power to remove children from their families. What about children`s rights?

If ever a system needed external scrutiny, this is it.

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