The Poor Relief Act of 1601 is generally recognised as the legislation that brought in a rating system, a property tax based on the value of real estate. The Overseers of each parish were empowered to make a rate and collect it from every inhabitant or occupier of land, to support the poor of that parish. At that time you could appeal to the Quarter Sessions about the rate, but not about your individual assessment for it.

The Union Assessment Committees Act 1862 brought Local Assessment Committees into being for hearing appeals against the rate. These were judicial but informal, an ethos that is retained today. These committees became Local Valuation Panels in 1948 and were renamed Valuation and Community Charge Tribunals in 1988. In 1992, with the demise of community charge (‘poll tax’), they were again renamed as Valuation Tribunals, of which there were 56 throughout the country.

Until 1 April 2004, these Valuation Tribunals employed their own staff, but relied on a government department for overall management and funding. Following the Local Government Act 2003, from 1 April 2004, the Valuation Tribunal Service was set up to provide administrative support services, including staff and accommodation, to all the Valuation Tribunals. The Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 created a single Valuation Tribunal for England (VTE), replacing the 56 separate tribunals, under a President with effect from the 1 October 2009.