Report No. 69
F. English Act of 1968
6.79. We have, by now, dealt with the important points relevant to the statutory and other material regarding "judicial proceeding". Before concluding the discussion, we would refer to the expression "civil proceeding" in the Civil Evidence Act (English). The principal object of the Civil Evidence Act, 1968, was to modify the rules of hearsay in civil proceedings The expression "civil proceeding", as defined in that Act,1 in section 18, in a positive form, really covers (so far as tribunals are concerned), only proceedings before those tribunals where the strict rules of evidence apply.
Having so defined the expression "civil proceedings", the draftsman of the Act was faced with a problem, namely, while the proceedings to which the important sections of the Act applied would, in view of this definition of civil proceedings, cover proceedings before those tribunals where the strict rules of evidence applied, the substantive sections of the Act2 used only the expression "court", and not the expression "court or tribunal".
1. Section 18(1)(a), Civil Evidence Act, 1968 (See Appendix to this chapter).
2. Sections referring, for example, to "rules of court" or using other phrases containing the word "court".
6.80. To meet this situation, the draftsman of the English Act has defined "court" as meaning, in relation to proceedings before a tribunal not being one of the ordinary courts of law, the tribunal. The last mentioned definition (of "court") is a verbal device, intended to dispense with the use of the cumbersome expression "court or tribunal" in the main sections. Far from equating all tribunals to courts, this device implicitly recognises the fact that there is a distinction between the two. The words "not being one of the ordinary courts of law", in the definition of "court"1 may be seen. It appears that the Lands Tribunal is one of the very few tribunals to which strict rules of evidence apply in England.
1. Section 18(2), Civil Evidence Act, 1968 (See Appendix).