Despite the fact that the Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has taken on additional panel members and now sit on may more 'judicial sitting days' than they did before this mammoth reassessment programme the question I would ask is can the Tribunals cope.
The reason why I question this is to do with the average timings I am seeing for appeals which I attend or where I prepare the client for the case and they attend on their own but with the benefit of all the documentation prepared.
Typically the listings for appeals go something like this in an average day:
9:30 -- 10.10 First case
10:20 - 11.00 Second case
11:10 - 11:50 Third case
12:00 - 12:40 Fourth case
Lunch - break (12:50 - 1:30)
1:30 - 2:10 Fifth Seventh case
2:20 - 3:00 Seventh case
3:10 - 3:50 Eighth case
4:00 - 4:40 Ninth case
I've checked the lists and broadly speaking they tally with the above timings. It's not uncommon for my own organisation to have four or five of these in the Tribunal list for one day. I can also see from the letters we receive from the Tribunal what time the hearings are listed for.
These timings represent a maximum efficiency and assume the first hearing starts at 9.30 and the ends by just before 5.00. This is often not possible because the Court house where the Tribunals are heard in Torquay officially closes at 4.00. They also assume the Tribunal runs on time; the timings are based on 40 minutes per case with 10 minutes deliberation time.
My own experience is that Tribunals and sometimes because documentation from us is handed in late rarely run on time. There are