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Lady Smith is stepping down as Tribunals President


Aug 21, 2020

After six years as President of the Scottish Tribunals, Lady Smith is stepping down from the role.


She was assigned as the first president of the Scottish Tribunals in 2014 by the Lord President at that time, Lord Gill. Since then she has overseen the transfer of a wide range of tribunal jurisdictions into the Scottish Tribunals under a new chambers structure, as well as the establishment of a well-functioning, judicially led First-tier and Upper Tribunal. She has also been engaged in the work of devolving the judicial leadership and administration of the UK tribunals in Scotland, in accordance with the provisions in the Smith Commission agreement.

Lady Smith said: “Over the last six years, a sea change has occurred in the administration of justice in Scotland’s tribunals. Substantial progress has been made towards achieving a tribunals system that is fit for the 21st century and independent of government. None of this could have been achieved without the remarkable support and willingness of the tribunals’ judiciary, particularly the chamber presidents, and the staff of the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with them all.

“Whilst the complex project for the devolution of other tribunals to Scottish leadership is taking longer than was originally expected - and the impact of Covid 19 seems likely to cause further delay - much good work has been completed. I am very glad to have had the opportunity to contribute to this important work.

“However, I believe that, six years on, the time has come for me to pass on the responsibilities of the president’s role.”

Lord Woolman has been assigned as the new President of the Scottish Tribunals from 24 August. He has served as a judge of the Supreme Courts since 2008.

He said: “As the first President of the Scottish Tribunals, Lady Smith has held the post with great distinction. I am delighted to succeed her in the post at a time when the tribunals are in good heart. Their work has never been more important and it is my privilege to take that forward. Our tribunals are a vital part of the administration of justice in Scotland, providing an essential service to a wide range of people.”

Lady Smith continues in her role as Chair of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.

21 August 2020