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Redressing Users Disadvantage: a report on tribunal reform

Redressing Users Disadvantage coverLaw Centre (NI) has launched Redressing Users' Disadvantage: Proposals for Tribunal Reform in Northern Ireland.

The report is to be followed by a conference in Belfast tomorrow, Wednesday 23 June, on Tribunal Reform – The Way Forward. Among the speakers will be the Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan, the Minister for Justice David Ford, and the report's authors Gráinne McKeever (University of Ulster School of Law) and Brian Thompson (University of Liverpool School of Law).

The report covers users' views of tribunals and provides an agenda and proposed roadmap for carrying forward tribunal reform in Northern Ireland.

Copies can be ordered from our Publications Unit for £9.95 and the Executive Summary is now available to download on our tribunal reform page.

'More people go to tribunals than to courts to resolve legal problems. Tribunals decide important issues including whether you can be paid a social security benefit, be released from a mental health institution, be granted asylum or have your job back, yet it remains an unheralded part of the justice system. This research, the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, aims to put the work of tribunals on the map', said Les Allamby, Director of Law Centre (NI).

 

 

Co-author of the report Gráinne McKeever commented:

'A number of themes emerged from the interviews with users and others involved in the tribunal system. These included that people appealing didn't know what to expect from tribunals prior to the hearing, that good quality specialist advice and representation is very beneficial, the importance of tribunals being independent, and strong support for increased oversight and accountability to maintain standards across tribunals. This feedback has helped to inform the agenda for tribunal reform for Northern Ireland.'

Brian Thompson, co-author, noted that:

'substantive reform of tribunals has taken place in Britain and we need a similar process that meets the needs of people in Northern Ireland. The research places users at the centre of reform by recommending that users have access to good quality advice and representation, that the independent role of tribunals is strengthened and that the oversight and accountability of tribunals' work is enhanced. The Hillsborough Agreement set out that tribunal reform was part of the programme for the new Department of Justice and our research should make a valuable contribution to carrying that work forward'.

 

Launch of research into reform of tribunals in Northern Ireland

 

Law Centre (NI) today launched ‘Redressing Users’ Disadvantage: Proposals for Tribunal Reform in Northern Ireland’.  The report is to be followed by a conference in Belfast on Wednesday 23 June on Tribunal Reform – The Way Forward.  Among the speakers will be the Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan, the Minister for Justice David Ford, and the report’s authors Gráinne McKeever (University of Ulster School of Law) and Brian Thompson (University of Liverpool School of Law).

The report covers users’ views of tribunals and provides an agenda and proposed roadmap for carrying forward tribunal reform in Northern Ireland.

More people go to tribunals than to courts to resolve legal problems.  Tribunals decide important issues including whether you can be paid a social security benefit, be released from a mental health institution, be granted asylum or have your job back, yet it remains an unheralded part of the justice system.  This research, the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, aims to put the work of tribunals on the map’, said Les Allamby, Director of Law Centre (NI).

Co-author of the report Gráinne McKeever commented:

‘A number of themes emerged from the interviews with users and others involved in the tribunal system.  These included that people appealing didn’t know what to expect from tribunals prior to the hearing, that good quality specialist advice and representation is very beneficial, the importance of tribunals being independent, and strong support for increased oversight and accountability to maintain standards across tribunals.  This feedback has helped to inform the agenda for tribunal reform for Northern Ireland.’

Brian Thompson, co-author, noted that:

 ‘substantive reform of tribunals has taken place in Britain and we need a similar process that meets the needs of people in Northern Ireland.  The research places users at the centre of reform by recommending that users have access to good quality advice and representation, that the independent role of tribunals is strengthened and that the oversight and accountability of tribunals’ work is enhanced.  The Hillsborough Agreement set out that tribunal reform was part of the programme for the new Department of Justice and our research should make a valuable contribution to carrying that work forward’.

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