A consultation on proposals to merge the Scottish Tribunals Service (STS) with the Scottish Court Service (SCS) has been published today.
The joint administration would be independent of Ministers and would provide support for both courts and tribunals led by a corporate body, chaired by the Lord President.
This would support the long-term independence of tribunals by putting their administration on the same footing as courts.
The consultation also asks for views on how best to preserve the unique character of both tribunals and courts in a joint organisation.
It follows the introduction of the Tribunals (Scotland) Bill to the Scottish Parliament in May.
Community Safety and Legal Affairs Minister Roseanna Cunningham said: “Tribunals are an integral part of Scotland’s legal landscape but have been established in an ad-hoc way over many years. That’s why we have developed a phased programme to strengthen our tribunals system, making it simpler and more user friendly, while retaining and protecting the independence and benefits of the current specialised tribunals.
“We have much to be proud of, and I want to build on this by setting- up a structure that puts users first and treats them fairly, timeously and with respect – no matter the nature of their dispute.
“In 2010, we created the Scottish Tribunals Service to provide administrative support for devolved tribunals. Last month, we introduced a Bill to the Scottish Parliament to set up a streamlined two-tier structure for devolved tribunals and a new office, the President of Scottish Tribunals, to protect the expertise of each jurisdiction and ensure business runs efficiently.
“The next step of this reform is to consider putting the administrative support of devolved tribunals on the same footing as courts, under the leadership of the Lord President, and I would welcome views on how best to do this.”