What Are Tribunals?

Agencies, Boards, Commissions, Among Others, As Adjudicative Entities That Conduct Hearings and Make Binding Decisions Are Known As Tribunals.

Understanding the Importance of Professional Advocacy Representation Within Administrative Tribunal Proceedings

Tribunal Advocacy Administrative tribunals review and adjudicate various matters involving disputes between private citizens, between citizens and various levels of government, or between businesses and certain levels of government, as well as by providing regulatory body governance that often involves the oversight, licensing, and disciplinary proceedings, of professional persons.

Quite literally, administrative tribunals operating within each Province may consist in the hundreds and include a variety of agencies, boards, bureaus, commissions, among other entities, whose duties and roles are to conduct quasi-judicial hearings and issue binding decisions.

As adjudicative bodies, administrative tribunals operate in parallel to the court system; and although administrative tribunal processes and settings will appear similar to the courts, administrative tribunals operate independently of the court system.  Generally, there are two primary differences between administrative tribunals and courts:

  1. The administrative tribunals are set up for the purpose and expectation of being a less formal, a less expensive, and a faster process, for the resolution of legal issues than that which exists within the courts; and
  2. The tribunal members, being the adjudicators who conduct hearings and render decisions, usually possess special subject matter knowledge on the legal issue topics as addressed by the specific tribunal which is in contrast to court judges who will possess general knowledge in many respects of the law while lacking specific topic expertise.

Many tribunals operate with a single adjudicator conducting the hearing; however, in some tribunal settings, a hearing panel will sit in the adjudicative decision-making role, especially for the hearing of cases of extra-special importance or involving complicated concerns.  The adjudicators will be specially trained for the types of cases conducted by the respective tribunal.  Similar to judges within courts, tribunal adjudicators are required to conduct hearings in accordance to the common law rules of procedural fairness as well as the procedural rules applicable to the specific tribunal.

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