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Fee-Paid (Specialist Information Rights) Member of the Upper Tribunal assigned to the Administrative Appeals Chamber and First-tier Tribunal General Regulatory Chamber (Information Rights) jurisdiction

Closing date:  5 September, 2019 - 13:00

Applications open: 15 August 2019, 13:00

Closing date: 5 September 2019, 13:00

Number of vacancies: 10

Fee: £290.80 a day

Locations: UK-wide

The JAC has been asked to identify 10 candidates suitable for immediate selection as Fee-paid (Specialist Information Rights) Members of the Upper Tribunal assigned to the Administrative Appeals Chamber and First-tier Tribunal General Regulatory Chamber (Information Rights) jurisdiction. This exercise is expected to launch in August.

About the role

Fee-paid non-legal members sit with a First-tier Tribunal Judge to determine appeals from decisions of the Information Commissioner made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and Data Protection Act 2018/GDPR. The cases may concern access to information by a member of the public, or enforcement action taken by the Information Commissioner.

Non-legal members bring an important lay perspective to hearings, but are expected to have a sound professional knowledge of at least one of the main legislative areas. Professional experience of modern data handling including data analytics would be an advantage.

Non-legal members are expected to own their own laptops, suitable for use with an e-judiciary account. They are expected to have access to stable wi-fi in a quiet location to enable them to hold Skype conferences with colleagues or to participate in e-learning.  

Hearings are listed regionally, although the majority are held in London. Some hearings take place by video conference or by determination on the papers. 

Whilst the appointment is to the Upper Tribunal, the majority of sittings anticipated for this role are in the General Regulatory Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal with the occasional opportunity to sit on appeals in the Administrative Appeals Chamber of the Upper Tribunal.

Fee-paid members can expect to dedicate approximately 30 days a year to tribunal business (including a minimum of 15 sitting days).

Main activities

  • attending training events (in person and/or by e-learning)
  • reading case papers and preparing for hearings (paper or electronic bundles), assimilating often complex legal and factual information
  • participating in pre-hearing discussions with the judge and a fellow member
  • sitting in hearings, listening to oral evidence and submissions, asking appropriate questions
  • respecting the confidentiality of 'closed' material at all times
  • participating in the panel's deliberations
  • commenting on a draft written decision produced by the judge and producing a written note about any points of dissent in a timely manner and according to agreed timescales
  • expected to be IT-literate and to make the fullest use possible of electronic means of research and communications
  • keeping up to date with Chamber guidance
  • claiming fees and expenses in a timely manner

Who can apply

Applications are invited from all professionals.

Candidates will be required to demonstrate substantial experience of the Data Protection Acts 1998 and 2018, and/or the Freedom Of Information Act 2000 and/or the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

Substantial experience will be such as to demonstrate a familiarity with the law and good practice in these areas. Such experience is likely to have been gained in a professional setting either as a data controller or processor, or as an employee of a public authority, or by acting as a lay advisor. It is unlikely that experience of litigating before the Tribunal without more evidence would qualify a person for this role.

Recent experience of modern data management techniques would be desirable.

Candidates should also be able to offer a reasonable length of service, usually 5 years, before the statutory retirement age of 70.

The Commission encourages diversity and welcomes applications from groups currently under represented in the judiciary. The principles of fair and open competition will apply and recommendation for appointment will be made solely on merit.

About the selection process

When the exercise opens, candidates will be required to complete an online application containing basic details, including their personal profile, character profile and a statement of suitability setting out how they meet the eligibility criteria mentioned above.

The number of applications received will determine the means by which candidates are shortlisted. If we receive a large number of applications, an online qualifying test will be used. The test will be available to sit between 7am and 9pm on 24 September. The test can be taken at a place convenient to the candidate; all that is needed is access to a computer, laptop or tablet with a stable internet connection. If an online test is not necessary, shortlisting will be against the eligibility criteria only, taking account of the information provided in the candidates’ statement of suitability.

Those who are shortlisted will be invited to attend a selection day comprising situational and competency based questions. Further details will be provided when the exercise opens.

Key dates

Applications open: 15 August 2019, 13:00

Closing date: 5 September 2019, 13:00

Online qualifying test (if necessary): 24 September 2019

Selection days: TBC

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