LETTER: Not a mere quango

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From Judge Bernard Marder, Q.C.

Sir: The photograph you publish flatters me, but I must protest at the distorted picture presented by your article "Unloved institutions that grew like Topsy" (7 February). The Lands Tribunal is not a quango, unloved or not. It is a court of law, established since 1949 to hear cases concerned with the value of land, including compensation for compulsory purchase, appeals in rating valuation cases, and many other related issues. Its members are independent members of the judiciary appointed by the Lord Chancellor.

I am not a "Government appointed quango chairman". I am one of about 500 circuit judges whose appointment is approved by the Queen. I was seconded by the Lord Chancellor in 1993 to head the Tribunal, as a member of the judiciary with specialist experience in the area of the Tribunal's jurisdiction.

You credit me with a salary which is £8,500 more than I am actually paid. My salary is that of all my fellow circuit judges with a (very) small responsibility allowance. Finally, I have nothing whatever to do with the Value Added Tax Tribunal.

Yours faithfully,

BERNARD MARDER

President

Lands Tribunal

London, WC2

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