A NEW tribunals centre is to be created in Glasgow, the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service (SCTS) has announced.

The new centre will be located at 3 Atlantic Quay, a high-quality office development close to the River Clyde in the centre of the city.

It is being seen as a significant boost to the commercial property sector in Glasgow that the SCTS and Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) have decided to rationalise their accommodation and move jointly into the new centre.

The 80,000 sq ft building, which is owned by the Moorfield Group and partners Resonance Capital, is costing in excess of £1.6 million year to rent. The moves planned to start next year will also mean that accommodation is ready for the tribunals that are going to be devolved to the SCTS.

The SCTS stated: “With 34 hearing rooms for cases to be heard, the design of the centre will provide excellent facilities for all tribunal users, and specific support for young users with additional support needs. Additionally, the centre will provide facilities for vulnerable witnesses to give evidence to both Glasgow Sheriff Court and the High Court.”

In 2018 the SCTS-supported housing and property and health and education tribunal chambers will move into the new centre. The HMCTS-operated social security tribunal will move at a similar time, with other tribunals presently under HMCTS services to follow at a later date.

The SCTS provides support to many of Scotland’s devolved tribunals and is making preparations for the future transfer of the UK reserved tribunals operations in Scotland, currently provided by HMCTS.

There has been considerable re-organisation of the tribunal system in Scotland since the Tribunals (Scotland) Act 2014

The First-tier Tribunal is organised into a series of chambers and from April 24 this year the tax chamber was established and took on the functions of the former tax tribunals for Scotland.

Other tribunals moving into the new centre will include the additional support needs tribunal and the council tax reduction review panel. Other tribunals will continue to be located outside Glasgow.

More tribunals will come with greater devolved powers, but employment tribunals are still under the control of the Westminster Government at this stage.

Lady Smith, president of the Scottish Tribunals, said: “The creation of the new tribunals centre in Glasgow is the latest important development in the evolution of the Scottish Tribunals.

“The premises will act as a hub for tribunals supported by SCTS, providing a range of modern facilities and services for tribunals users.

“They will also offer a separate, appropriately designed space for vulnerable witnesses and users, including for witnesses providing evidence for Sheriff and High Court cases in Glasgow.

“This co-located approach to provision for the tribunals should be regarded as a flagship for the administration of justice in Scotland in the 21st century.”

Eric McQueen, Chief Executive, SCTS said: “This has been an exciting opportunity with SCTS and HMCTS working together to create a bespoke tribunals centre, improving the services we provide for tribunals, while reducing costs. It also provides an early opportunity to bring together SCTS and HMCTS staff to prepare for forthcoming tribunal reforms.”