Vacancy: Surveyor Member

Role description

There is a vacancy for a part-time surveyor member of the Lands Tribunal for Scotland. The initial appointment will be on a part-time basis equivalent to 40% of a full-time appointment. The appointment will continue until the appointee reaches the statutory retirement age of 70. In accordance with sections 26(4) to (6) of the Judicial Pensions and Retirement Act 1993, the successful candidate may be authorised by the Scottish Ministers to continue in office for further periods not exceeding one year and not extending beyond the day on which they attain the age of 75.

The appointment will be made by the Scottish Ministers under the provisions of the Lands Tribunal Act 1949. The Act provides for appointment of a person having experience in the valuation of land. The appointment is to be made after consultation with the Chairman of the Scottish Branch of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and past experience suggests that the successful applicant is likely to be a Fellow of the RICS. Although he or she will be permitted to continue in professional practice, care will be required to ensure that no potential conflict of interest can arise. It may be that the post will appeal to a senior surveyor looking for a change of career.

The jurisdiction of the Tribunal is wide-ranging – see below – and much of its work is extremely complex. Whilst practical knowledge and experience of valuation for rating would be an advantage, the requirement to be able to handle a wide range of complex work is paramount.

The work is essentially judicial in character. It is usual for surveyors to sit with a lawyer who will chair the hearing and, accordingly, there will be ample opportunity to become familiar with the work before being asked to sit – in the more straightforward cases – on one’s own.

It is essential that the Tribunal be seen to command the respect of the public generally as well as the respect of professionals such as solicitors and surveyors appearing before it. Applicants should be able to point to elements in their CV which provide a basis for that respect.

Background

Although provision for a Lands Tribunal for Scotland (LTS) was contained in the Lands Tribunal Act 1949, such a tribunal – the present LTS – actually came into existence only in 1971. Its first President was the Hon Lord Elliott, who was already Chairman of the Scottish Land Court, and ever since then those two posts have been linked, presently in the person of the Hon Lord Minginish.

The history of the Tribunal has been one of constantly expanding jurisdictions. As well as the historical core of its business – assessment of compensation for compulsory purchase (in a wide range of circumstances and under a variety of statutes), valuation for rating, variation and discharge of title conditions under the Title Conditions (Scotland )Act 2003 and appeals and referrals under the Land Registration (Scotland) Act 1979 – it has acquired a variety of additional jurisdictions under, for example, the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003, the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, the Land Registration etc. (Scotland) Act 2012 and the Land Reform etc. (Scotland) Act 2016 with the promise of more on the way in terms of the Electronic Communications Code which is part of the Digital Economy Act 2017.

Nature of the work

The main duties relate to sitting, alone or, more commonly, with a fellow member, to conduct hearings and prepare the resultant decisions. You will also require to work closely with administrative staff on a variety of issues of practice and procedure which arise in relation to cases in their preliminary stages. Because of the variety of jurisdictions most cases require individual assessment at a procedural level and the involvement of members is an important part of the efficient disposal of the work. Where parties consent and the Tribunal considers it appropriate, cases can be decided on the basis of written submissions, without a formal hearing A distinctive aspect of the work is the frequent need to carry out site visits in order to inspect the land or buildings with which a case is concerned. Such visits can take members to any part of Scotland with the formal hearing often convened in suitably local premises which may range from a Sheriff Courthouse to a village hall or community centre.

Work pattern

Most of the work is done from the office in Edinburgh. Although there is some scope for preparation of written work at home, it is expected that the member will spend most of his or her working time in the office. A willingness to be flexible with work patterns is essential. Workloads are variable and members must be prepared to work at home in the evenings or at weekends when necessary.

Ideally the successful candidate will be capable of producing his or her own written work on a desktop or laptop computer provided for that purpose but audio-typing may be made available. It is not always possible to have verbatim recording of evidence and members must have, or be able to develop, good note-taking abilities.

When cases are being heard furth of Edinburgh overnight stays away from home are sometimes necessary. Such visits also make having one’s own transport and a driving licence very desirable. Most site inspections are of normal domestic or commercial premises and are not physically demanding. However, where necessary and possible, reasonable adjustments will be made to accommodate disability or impairment.

Current staffing

As matters stand, membership of the Tribunal comprises the President, a full-time legal member who is, in effect, the Deputy President, and two part-time surveyor members (the advertised post being one of them).

As has been said, the President of the Tribunal is also Chairman of the Scottish Land Court. Those organisations are of similar size, both occupy premises at George House, Edinburgh, and, although their jurisdictions are quite distinct, a surveyor member of the Lands Tribunal may from time to time be asked to sit as an assessor with the Court.

The work of the Lands Tribunal for Scotland is supported by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service. The office staff comprises the Clerk, Mr Neil Tainsh LLB; a deputy clerk and an administrative officer.

Location

The offices are located in Edinburgh at George House, 126 George Street, Edinburgh. The office shares car parking space in the basement car park. Adequate bike racks are also available.

Salary

The salary will be based, pro rata, on a current full-time member’s salary, which is currently £126,946. Salary is paid monthly by credit transfer. The post carries with it eligibility for a pension.

Travelling and subsistence

Subsistence allowances and travelling expenses on official duty will be paid at Scottish Government rates. There is no reimbursement of the cost of daily travel between home and office nor will relocation costs for the purposes of taking up the appointment be met.

Information

Further information on any aspect of the above can be obtained by contacting Neil Tainsh, the Clerk to the Lands Tribunal, George House, 126 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 4HH, Tel. 0131 271 4353. (Email: NTainsh@scotcourtstribunals.gov.uk)

Application

Application forms can be obtained from: Emily Adams at Scottish Government, Tribunals and Administrative Justice Policy Team, GW15, St Andrew’s House, Regent Road, Edinburgh EH1 3DG or by phone to Emily on: 0131-244-3634 or by emailing: surveyor.recruitment@gov.scot

Applications must be received on or before midnight on 24 July 2017.