Lola Moses was appointed as a member of Valuation Tribunal for England in 2015. She is a solicitor and works for Codility, a technology company as Senior Director of Legal. She tells us about what prompted her to apply for the role and offers advice to others considering applying.
What attracted you to this role?
I signed up to the JAC newsletter ‘Judging Your Future’ and was waiting for the right opportunity that would be complementary to my career and professional development.
Last summer when I saw the advertisement for the Valuation Tribunal of England (VTE) seeking chairmen and members, I thought the role would be a good fit for my background. I’m a practising as a solicitor, an accredited mediator and my committee work would provide me with the necessary transferable skills. I was attracted to the scope of the work of the VTE since it handles appeals concerning the decisions of the Valuation Office Agency and local councils in valuation and local taxation matters. I wanted the opportunity to pick up a new area of law, gain judicial experience and a fresh challenge.
What aspects of your career or other interests do you most draw upon in the role? How do they help you?
I consider my skills such as dealing with appeals, drafting advice and analysing information will assist me in the role. I have not started sitting yet because my training and induction finished recently. However, I have had a number of observation days to see the tribunal panel in action. My litigation experience provided me with a working knowledge of how the courts and tribunals operate. Similarly, my advisory skills and work on appeals enabled me to appreciate the necessity for evidence-based decisions. The VTE receives considerable amounts of information ahead of hearings so my ability to analyse documents swiftly will be valuable.
How do you fit it in with other work?
I have always pursued other interests outside of work. For instance I was vice chair of a governing body for a primary school for years. I’ve also worked on committees and participated in consultancy work in recent years. Time management is essential when fitting in voluntary roles around other commitments. I have worked as an in-house lawyer for several years and have found my employers to be very accommodating about my career and professional development. When I start sitting I plan to do 2 days a month. I am also fortunate enough to work within walking distance from the VTE’s London office.
If you’re asked for advice by someone considering becoming a member of the VTE, what would you say to them?
The JAC’s website has useful resources to help candidates prepare for the application.
I would advise candidates to scrutinise their CVs and pursuits outside work against the competencies needed for members of the VTE. The JAC has detailed guidance on completing self-assessment to show how your experience satisfies the competencies. This information should be considered prior to making an application.
Finally, I encourage others seeking to be a member of the VTE to consider their motivation and whether they have the time to commit. I would like to sit until I retire and feel confident that I will continue to find the role rewarding. I felt encouraged that of the members that I had the opportunity to shadow, some had been with the VTE and its predecessor for many years and demonstrated a clear passion for the role as well as wanting to make a difference.