News - Taking of oral evidence from persons located overseas in tribunal proceedings
SCTS would be grateful if parties who wish to lead evidence from witnesses located outside of the UK in The First-Tier Tribunal for Scotland, Upper Tribunal for Scotland, The Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland, The Pensions Appeals Tribunal and The Lands Tribunal for Scotland could assist with the following request from Wednesday 1 November 2023.
Where a party wishes to lead evidence by telephone or video from a witness located in a country outside the UK and that witness is unable to give evidence from within the UK, it would be helpful if the party could:
- contact the tribunal to make staff aware of their intention to lead such evidence; and
- confirm whether the proposed witness is a citizen or a resident in that country or not, so that the tribunal is made aware of the reason why the party requests that oral evidence is given from that country.
It would be helpful if this information could be provided to the appropriate tribunal as soon as parties become aware of the need for that witness to give evidence from outside the UK. In other words, at the earliest possible opportunity.
This will allow SCTS staff to identify, in collaboration with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, whether the government of the country in which the evidence is going to be led consents to the leading of such evidence from within their jurisdiction. If such consent is provided, this information will allow operational staff and the tribunal member(s) presiding over the proceedings to confirm whether they are content for evidence to be led in this way and, if so, to make suitable arrangements.
This request aligns with the approach being taken by His Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in relation to tribunal proceedings in England and Wales.
Hybrid working arrangements
Currently, Administrative staff within the Pensions Appeal Tribunal are working between the office and at home. The best way to contact us is by email at PAT_Info_Mailbox@scotcourtstribunals.gov.uk and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.
Furthermore, the Tribunal is currently operating a hybrid model of virtual hearings (telephone or videoconference) and in-person hearings for the foreseeable future. If you have an appeal with us currently at the stage of setting a hearing date then you will be given the option of how you would like your appeal to be heard. If we do not receive a response from you, your appeal will be listed as either a telephone conference or in person in George House in Edinburgh.
A link to the current practice direction in place by the President of The Pensions Appeal Tribunal, along with further links to the subsequent extensions of that direction, is provided below:
The Pensions Appeal Tribunal hear appeals from ex-servicemen or women who have had their claims for a War Pension rejected by the Secretary of State for Defence.
The Tribunals' jurisdiction covers Scotland, and is independent from the Veterans UK, the administrative body of the Ministry of Defence.
England, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own Tribunal
The Tribunals have been set up in their present form since 1943 although they have been in existence, as part of the Lord President of the Court of Session's responsibility since the War Pensions Act 1919.
The Pensions Appeal Tribunal is headed by a President who is legally qualified and supported by a panel of part-time Legal Chairmen, Medical Members and Service Members.