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Report No. 162

Work of the council on tribunals

Although the Council has no legal right to be consulted about Bills in Parliament constituting or affecting tribunals, it is in practice consulted as the Franks Committee intended. The Council comments on Bills in much the same way as it does on procedural rules, and in particular it attempts to help departments drafting provisions for new tribunals. In this way it has been able, for example, to secure a statutory right to be heard for a licence-holder threatened with cancellation of his licence.

It has investigated various complaints made to it by dissatisfied parties, and in some cases has been able to obtain reform of tribunals' practiCes. It has secured improvements in tribunals' accommodation by following up complaints, and also as a result of its members' visits to tribunal hearings. It has, thus, acted as a kind of ombudsman in the sphere of tribunals, as also in that of inquires, though with a view to the improvement of the system rather than the remedying of individual cases.

For some years now the flow of complaints about tribunals has been much reduced. This may be in some degree a measure of the success of the reforms of 1958 and the Improvements effected subsequently by government departments, stimulated in some cases by the Council."

3.3. The Act of 1958 has been replaced by the Tribunals and Inquiries Act, 1992 (U.K). Sections 1-4 thereof concern the provisions of the Council on Tribunals and their functions. Section 1 envisages the functions of the Council and includes inter alia, to keep under review the constitution and working of the tribunals specified in Schedule I of the Act and, from time to time, to report on their Constitution and working; to consider and report on such particular matters as may be referred to the Council with respect to Tribunals other than the ordinary courts of law, whether specified or not in Schedule I of the Act.

Section 2 provides for the composition of the Council and section 4 prescribes the procedure of making reports by the Council.

Section 5 envisages that the Council may make to the appropriate Minister general recommendations as to the making of appointments to membership of any tribunals mentioned in Schedule I or of Panels constituted for the purpose of any such tribunals. However, section 6 envisages the procedure of the method of appointment of the Chairman of certain tribunals.

The Council has to be consulted under section 8 of the Act in order to make the procedural rules for any Tribunal specified in Schedule I of the Act.

Section 11 governs the appeals from certain Tribunals. Under sub-section (1) if any party to proceedings before any specified Tribunal is dissatisfied in point of law with a decision of the Tribunal he may, according as rules of court may provide, either appeal from the Tribunal to the High Court or require the Tribunal to state and submit a case for the opinion of the High Court.

Under sub-section 3 thereof, rules of court made with respect to all or any of the Tribunals may also provide for authorising or requiring a Tribunal in the course of proceedings before it, to state in the form of a special case for the decision of the High Court, any question of law arising in the proceedings and the decision of the High Court shall be deemed to be the judgment of the court. Under sub-section (5) it i5 specified that appeal to the court of appeal shall not be brought by virtue of this section except with the leave of the High Court or the court of appeal.



Review of functioning of Central Administrative Tribunal - Customs, Excise and Gold (Control) Appellate Tribunal and Income-Tax Appellate Tribunal Back




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