The Federal Appeals Panel adjudicates internal disputes within the Liberal Democrats. Its rulings are final and binding.
Its jurisdiction is set out under Article 22.3 of the Federal Party Constitution. It adjudicates:
- disputes over the interpretation of the Constitution;
- claims that rights under the Constitution of members, Party organs, Associated Organisations or Specified Associated Organisations have been infringed;
- disputes (other than one as to policy jurisdiction) between the Federal Party and a State Party;
- appeals from like bodies in a State Party;
- matters referred to it by State Appeals Panels; and
- other matters expressly provided for by the Constitution or by rules made thereunder.
The Federal Appeals Panel will in particular hear appeals from first-instance determinations of complaints that have been made under the Article 23 procedure. A guide to whether the Panel can hear a dispute is available here.
The Federal Appeals Panel is made up of 18 volunteers, 9 of whom are elected by the Federal Board and individually confirmed by the Federal Party Conference; and the remainder of whom are elected by State Parties. A short biography of its members may be found here. Members of the Federal Appeals Panel are elected for 5 year terms. They exercise their function independently and impartially, supported by a Registrar who may be a Party employee.
The Federal Appeals Panel is accountable to the Federal Party Conference, which confirms its published procedures.
Through this website, the Panel aims to be accessible and transparent to members. Its reports to Conference, current procedures, guidance, forms, and information about the work of the Panel shall be published on this website.
The Panel will shortly be consulting on reforms to its procedures in Spring 2021. The consultation documents will be published on this website.