Tribunals and Inquires in UK Law
N v Advocate General for Scotland
Secondly, there is no presumption that the procedure will necessarily follow the adversarial model which (for the time-being at least) is the hallmark of civil court procedures. In a specialist tribunal, particularly where parties are not represented, there is more scope, and often more need, for the judges to adopt an inquisitorial approach. However, there is no single approach suitable for all tribunals.
The first is as to the weight to be given to such evidence in future cases. The language of the guidance gives rise to a real risk of being interpreted as prejudging issues which are for the individual tribunal to determine. As will be seen, the present appeals are illustrative of that risk.
Pett v Greyhound Racing Association Ltd
Once it is seen that a man has a right to appear by an agent, then I see no reason why that agent should not be a lawyer. It is not every man who has the ability to defend himself on his own. He cannot bring out the points in his own favour or the weaknesses in the other side. He may be tongue-tied or nervous, confused or wanting in intelligence. If justice is to be done, he ought to have the help of someone to speak for him. and who better than a lawyer who has been trained for the task?
All I would say is that much water has passed under the fridges since 1929. The dictum may be correct when confined to tribunals dealing with minor matters where the rules may properly exclude legal representation. But the dictum does not apply to tribunals dealing with matters which affect a man's reputation or livelihood or any matters of serious import. Natural justice then requires that he can be defended, if he wishes, by counsel or solicitor.
Bushell v Secretary of State for the Environment
What is a fair procedure to be adopted at a particular inquiry will depend upon the nature of its subject matter.
What is fair procedure is to be judged not in the light of constitutional fictions as to the relationship between the Minister and the other servants of the Crown who serve in the Government Department of which he is the head, but in the light of the practical realities as to the way in which administrative decisions involving forming judgments based on technical considerations are reached.
Once he has reached his decision he must be prepared to disclose his reasons for it, because the Tribunals and Inquiries Act 1971 so requires; but he is, in my view, under no obligation to disclose to objectors and give them an opportunity of commenting on advice, expert or otherwise, which he receives from his Department in the course of making up his mind.
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Deference on Questions of Law
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