35. The Tribunals (Scotland) Act 2014 (the 2014 Act) creates two new tribunals, the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (generally hearing cases at first instance) and the Upper Tribunal for Scotland (primarily for appeals), known collectively as the Scottish Tribunals. Existing tribunals will transfer into the Scottish Tribunals in a phased process commencing in December 2016.
36. The main aim of the 2014 Act is to create a simplified framework that will provide coherence across the current disparate tribunals landscape. It will bring improvements to the structure, management and organisation of tribunals, introducing a common system of appointments, practices and procedures, and bringing judicial leadership under the Lord President.
37. The transfer of VAC functions will not happen in time for the 2017 revaluation. Given the cyclical nature of the VACs' workload in respect of valuation appeals, it would be administratively convenient to time the transfer to coincide with a subsequent revaluation, notwithstanding that VACs have other jurisdictions and caseloads relating to council tax appeals which must be borne in mind. Under current legislation, the revaluation cycle will revert to five-yearly after 2017, meaning the next revaluation will be in 2022 - and this may be the most appropriate time for the transfer.
38. In light of this future transfer, the Government is not proposing any reforms in respect of Valuation Appeal Panel recruitment, membership, remuneration and training to take effect for the 2017 revaluation cycle. Such issues will be considered as part of the planning to transfer VAC functions to the Scottish Tribunals. In the meantime, the Government is discussing funding for training with the Scottish Valuation Appeal Committee Forum.
39. The Government recognises the valuable work of the many Valuation Appeal Panel members around the country, as well as the potential uncertainty generated by the tribunals agenda. Accordingly the Government will continue to work closely with the Scottish Valuation Appeal Committee Forum to fully consider the issues in respect of the planned transfer of functions to the Scottish Tribunals structure, and will endeavour to clarify the prospects for existing and potential new panel members timeously.