Qualifications and appointment

A3.709 Judiciary

Until April 2011 the First-tier Tax Chamber was headed by an Acting President. Sir Stephen Oliver, formerly President of the Finance and Tax Tribunals, was appointed by the Senior President1 as the first person to take on this role. He had responsibility for leading the judges and members of the Tax Chamber. Sir Stephen was also the non-statutory vice-president of the Tax and Chancery Chamber of the Upper Tribunal. His successor as President of the First-tier Tax Chamber is Colin Bishopp.

The president of the Tax and Chancery Chamber of the Upper Tribunal is the Honourable Mr Justice Warren, a High Court judge. He was appointed by the Senior President, following agreement by the Lord Chancellor2.

The First-tier Tax Chamber consists of over 200 judiciary, most of whom are fee-paid, plus several salaried judges from the Tax and Chancery Chamber of the Upper Tribunal, who also sit as of right in the First-tier Tax Chamber. The judiciary is made up of:


    •     a number of 'transferred-in' tax judges and members who were Special Commissioners, deputy Special Commissioners, VAT & Duties chairs and 706/04 members in the old system, and


    •     an approximately similar proportion of new recruits who joined the system from 1 April 2009. The General Commissioners did not transfer into the new system and as a consequence, new judiciary were recruited both through open selection and by assignment from elsewhere within the Tribunals system

High Court judges and specialist tax judiciary hear cases in the

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