• December 17, 2015


It’s nice to know that we still have some ‘cottage industries’.

Many years ago when I was on the Isle of Man Trade Union Council we would periodically get a request from this or that area of government to nominate someone to sit on a ‘appeals tribunal’. Usually these would be work permit appeal, social security, building trades’ council that sort of thing. Some one would be nominated trundle along and do their stint. You generally got paid just enough to cover expenses of getting there – a few pounds. If you were released by your employer to attend the attendance expense was paid to them.

In the 1990s when Trade Union and employment law came in tribunal attendance rates were starting to increase and people were paid by the session (a session being a half day). It still wasn’t a great deal but it was enough to cause one of my colleagues to accuse the Chairman of one Tribunal he was on of turning into ‘a cottage industry’.

Often the Chairs were legally qualified paid more and were also able to book time for ‘writing up’ decisions – although to be fair most of them did it as a public duty and could have been making much more at the day job.

I came of tribunals years ago just as the government were setting up an appointments commission. It was felt that the old system of Departments like Industry or Health etc seeking nominees was not ‘humans rights compliant’ so they appointed a committee to appoint the committees! The rates of course were also hiked and have continued to increase so what was once considered a public duty can now be a nice little earner.

There are literally loads of them indeed there are probably so many that its doubtful any one person in government knows how many there are.

You’ll find a goodly number listed here:


As you can see they even have there own web site now!

Not content with having loads of tribunals the government have some that haven’t even been properly set up yet (but presumably are raring to go) check this on:


Quite ironic really the bookies could open betting on when the gambling appeal tribunal will be up and running! By the way the copyright tribunal is another that will be along shortly.

Some of course must be quite busy like social security tribunals, with all the benefits Bill Henderson and Treasury Social Security are slashing. Some I would imagine are a bit more sedate like the Independent Schools tribunal. Not that many independent schools so they won’t be rushed of there feet.

In addition to the tribunals the government have all sorts of quangos. I wonder how many of them there are? In fact when you think of it listing the number of tribunals, quangos etc could become a bit of an anoraks pursuit.

Seriously on an Island of 85,000 and shrinking (despite the best efforts of Mickey and the crew down at the Chamber of Commerce) to we need all this bureaucracy?

I’m sure the ‘great and the good’ can preoccupy themselves down at the food bank or the church fete rather than filling their day with ‘Trumptons’ tribunals! Isn’t it time for a cull!


Issued by: The Celtic News



The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues




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