Plant Varieties and Seeds Tribunal – Member appointments

Body: Plant Varieties and Seeds Tribunal
Appointing Department: Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Sector: Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Location: Various
Number of Vacancies: Multiple
Remuneration: Daily fee: £296.62. The Tribunal will reimburse all reasonable expenses (including travel, subsistence, and other expenses) properly and necessarily incurred in respect of your appointment. Payment of fee and expenses will be made via the PVST Secretary, through the Defra payment system, which members will have access to.
Time Requirements: There is no minimum or maximum days per year. Successful applicants will be required to sit on Tribunals when selected by Ministers, based on their experience and nature of the appeal

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    Closing date: 23.55 on 30 January 2022

  • Panel Sift

    w/c 07/02/2022

  • Final Interview Date

    Not applicable

  • Announcement

    w/c 21/02/2022


Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

The Plant Varieties and Seeds Tribunal (‘the Tribunal’) is a statutory appeal body created by primary legislation (the Plant Varieties Act 1997). The Tribunal makes legally binding decisions about national listing of new varieties of plants, UK plant variety rights and certain forestry matters.

All varieties for which an application for UK Variety Listing is made must undergo DUS (Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability) testing and for some species VCU (Value for Cultivation and Use) testing, as outlined in the Seeds (National Lists of Varieties) Regulations 2001 (as amended) and the Seeds (Variety Lists) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020.

The Regulations provide that applicants are given an opportunity to make a ‘representation’ to the ‘Appropriate Authority’ challenging the proposed decision. If, after further consideration (and often the submission of further evidence) the final decision is to refuse Variety Listing, the applicants can lodge an appeal with the PVS Tribunal.

The Appropriate Authorities are:

(a) in relation to England, the Secretary of State;

(b) in relation to Scotland, the Scottish Ministers;

(c) in relation to Wales, the Welsh Ministers; and

(d) in relation to the acceptance of a plant variety onto a GB Variety List, the Secretary of State, the Welsh Ministers and the Scottish Ministers, acting jointly”.

Northern Ireland has its own regulations for variety listings and they have retained an appeal process to the Tribunal.

Each Tribunal appeal consists of 3 persons:

• a Chair (with 7 years legal standing). The Chair is appointed by the Lord Chancellor (for proceedings in England and Wales), the Lord President of the Court of Session (for proceedings in Scotland) or by the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland (for proceedings in NI)

• a person (selected from a panel of members) who holds a wide general knowledge in the field of agriculture, of horticulture or of forestry, and

• a person (selected from a panel of members) who holds specialised knowledge of particular species or groups of plants or of the seeds industry.

The Tribunal has not sat since 1984. We now need to appoint members to both the wide general knowledge and the specialist knowledge panels. We are looking for individuals with significant experience and a proven track record of achievement in agriculture, horticulture and forestry and specialist species and seed experts. Successful panel members will be approved by Ministers (or if directed to do so, by the PVS Chair for a group or class of cases) to sit on specific hearings based on their knowledge of the subject matter and expertise in relation to the appeal. The successful panel members must have the energy, passion, and intellect to reinvigorate the Tribunal to a proficient standing expected of an active tribunal.

Person Specification

Candidates must be able to demonstrate the relevant essential criteria for the ‘wide general knowledge’ or the ‘specialised knowledge’ panel membership:

For the ‘wide general knowledge’ panel member roles:

• significant experience, a proven track record of achievement and evidence of holding a comprehensive and current wide general knowledge of:

o agriculture or

o horticulture or

o forestry;

For the ‘specialised knowledge’ panel member roles:

• significant experience, a proven track record of achievement and evidence of holding a comprehensive and current specialist knowledge of one or more of the following:

o Beans;

o Biotechnology;

o Cereals;

o Forage Crops;

o Forest Seed;

o Fruit;

o Glasshouse Crops;

o Grasses & Legume;

o Oilseeds

o Ornamentals/Hardy Ornamentals;

o Potatoes;

o Seed Industry;

o Vegetables/field vegetables.

• Proven strategic thinkers with experience in making relevant sound judgement and unbiased decisions in a timely manner.

• Ability to read, understand, question and draw inferences from data sets and statistical analysis which has been presented to the Tribunal.

• Experience of working constructively with others, understanding, and valuing different perspectives, and building a consensus through pro-active contribution to discussions.

• Capable of communicating complex technical issues clearly, both in writing and verbally.

• Excellent interpersonal skills whilst showing decisiveness, independence, and strong mindedness, whilst maintaining a positive attitude.

Experience of or an ability to:

• engage in research, consultancy work or provide advice

• engage in public speaking or speaking at conferences.

Additional Information

Successful applicants will be appointed for a period of five years.

How to Apply

All candidates are required to complete the following forms:

• Monitoring form 1 (Conflicts of interest conduct and advertising Questionnaire)

• Monitoring form 2 (Diversity Questionnaire)

Candidates should submit their CV with education, professional qualifications and employment history and the names and contact details for two referees, together with their statement of suitability.

The statement of suitability should give evidence of the strength and depth of your ability to meet the essential criteria for this role. Please provide specific examples to demonstrate how you meet each of the criteria (max two pages please).

Your CV and statement should be returned to the following address by the closing date: 23.55 on 30 January 2022. Email to

For further information about the role please email:

1_Candidate information pack
3_Monitoring form 2 (Diversity Questionnaire)

This post is NOT regulated by The Commissioner for Public Appointments.

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