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Become a tribunal medical member and contribute your skills in a new way

14 July 2017

Applications for medically-qualified members of the First-tier Tribunal will open on 3 August 2017.

This is an exciting opportunity for medical professionals to use their skills and knowledge to make important decisions that will make a real difference to people’s lives.

The Social Entitlement Chamber in the First-tier Tribunal is looking for approximately 200 new medical members to bring their expertise to the tribunal. It hears appeals arising from decisions made about disability benefits. Doctors from all backgrounds can apply.

As the medical member you will sit alongside a tribunal judge and sometimes a disability-qualified member. All tribunal members contribute to the decision about the benefit being appealed.

As a medical member of the Tribunal, you will hear appeals relating to:

  • personal independence payments
  • attendance allowance
  • employment support allowance
  • benefits for industrial injury or disease
  • compensation recovery, including NHS recovery claims
  • vaccine damage payments

You will use your professional expertise to assist the tribunal to understand the medical evidence provided.

To determine the appeal you and your fellow tribunal members will consider evidence, find facts and apply the relevant law to reach a fair decision.

Vacancies are available across England, Wales and Scotland. Members are assigned to a primary hearing venue, though may be invited to sit at other locations. This is a fee-paid role.

 

Eligibility

To apply you must:

  • have unconditional registration with the General Medical Council
  • be able to serve for at least 4 years before retirement at age 70

Registered medical practitioner means a fully registered person within the meaning of the Medical Act 1983 whether or not they hold a licence to practise under the Act.

The daily fee is between £322.20 and £386.84. Members sit for a minimum of 15 days a year.

Dr Jane Rayner is Chief Medical Member in the Social Entitlement Chamber. On being of a medical tribunal member, she says:

“In our tribunals, we hear appeals against decisions made by the Department of Work and Pensions. Medical members always sit with a legally qualified judge and for some appeals with a disability qualified tribunal member who has experience of disability either personally or professionally, and sometimes both.

“Although the majority of medical members tend to be either GPs or consultants, we all come from a wide range of professional backgrounds. The cases we deal with are diverse and the medical conditions seen in appeals can vary from the very common to the incredibly rare.

“However, it is not just the medicine that makes the job so interesting: the way in which people cope with illness and disability is so very different and I am reminded daily of the resilience of human nature and the extraordinary efforts made by individuals to cope with everyday life in the face of adversity.

“The work provides a fascinating insight into both the social security system and the interface between medicine and the law, which I know many doctors have an interest in. I have been very privileged to work with some amazing colleagues over the years and have learnt more about disability both from working with them and the appellants we see, than in 30 years of clinical practice.

“Essential requirements of a medical member? Excellent communication skills, the ability to describe medical terms in language easily understandable to non-medical members, and to be able to assimilate a lot of evidence efficiently and quickly.”

Professor Lord Ajay Kakkar, the Chairman of the JAC, says:

“As doctors, not many of us will consider that a career in the judiciary is open to us. After all, we’ve trained as medical professionals. However, it is our medical skills and knowledge that are now needed as members of the First-tier Tribunal.

“For this reason, I am delighted to be able to offer this opportunity for you to join the ranks of the judiciary. This year’s competition for medical members does not require any experience of law. The roles are part-time and, for those considering how they can contribute to public service, this is an exciting opportunity.

“We are determined to select the candidates of the highest ability who have the clear potential to contribute their medical knowledge and skills, irrespective of background.

“The JAC is committed to making our judiciary more diverse and we strongly encourage women and BAME candidates to apply. This is extremely interesting and rewarding work, which is critical to the effective functioning of the judiciary.”

 

How to apply

To apply you will need to complete an online application when applications open on 3 August at 1pm.

The online application will include:

  • your personal profile (including career history), character and diversity information
  • a statement of suitability that provides evidence to demonstrate how your skills and experience make you suitable for the post

Your application must be submitted by 1pm on 24 August.

The JAC 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.

For full instructions on how to apply: jac.judiciary.gov.uk/vacancies/071