TRIBUNALS – Discuss the factor leading to the growth of administrative tribunals and state what are the advantages of administrative tribunals as compared to the system of ordinary courts. In pursuance of administrative law, there can arise disputes. These disputes require adjudication. There are administrative agencies other than courts to adjudicate such issues arising in the course of day to day administration. It is more familiar called as administrative tribunals. An administrative tribunal is a body set up by legislation to adjudicate upon disputes in a specific area and which enjoys a degree of autonomy.
Such tribunals seem to constitute the best mechanism to settle disputes outside the court system because they enjoy some element of separation and independence from the administration and come very near the model of a court. The factors leading to the growth of administrative tribunals are basically similar with the growth of subsidiary legislation. Among the factors are : 1) Administrative tribunal, rendering justice, is a by-product of the Welfare state. In the 18th and 19th centuries when laissez faire theory held sway, the law courts emerged as the custodians of the rights and liberties of the individual citizens.
With the emergence of Welfare state, conditions of employment, manner of living and elementary necessities of people has give rise the need for a technique of adjudication better fitted to respond to the social requirements of the time than the elaborate and costly system of decision making provided by the courts of law. In brief, ‘judicialisation of administration’ proved a potential instrument for enforcing social policy and legislation. 2) Expansion in the functions and responsibilities of the administration. Administration undertakes multifarious socio-economic activities.
To finance these activities, the tax base is being expanded and many disputes between the tax-payers and the tax assessors arise as regards tax liability. This results in the growth of tax-assessing authorities such as in Malaysia, where the most significant tribunal is Special Commissioners of Income Tax and in Singapore, they have Income Tax Board of Review. Plus, more laws are being enacted, many socio-economic laws are being passed. Disputes between one individual and another, or between an individual and a government agency, and a machinery is needed to adjudicate upon these isputes. 3) Overloaded of work left to the judicial system. If all the disputes were to be left to the traditional judicial system, it will be burden with loads of work. Disposal of cases will be delayed and this will slow down the administrative process since the administration cannot act in disputed matters until the controversy is decided. The administration may even have to hold up action in other similar cases. With the addition of more work-load, the court process will slow down further.
This point has been coined out by the Report of the Franks Committee, “…the system of administrative tribunals has positively contributed to the preservation of our ordinary judicial system. ” 4) Court procedure is tardy, formal, rigid and expensive. It is not suitable for adjudication of disputes which consist of small claims against the administration. In many cases, what may be needed is an informal atmosphere and a procedure which does not involved too many technical and elaborate rules of procedure and evidence, which can possibly be achieved in a tribunal system. ) Disputes arising under modern socio-economic legislation involve, besides legal issues, matters of policy as well. It is usual to use in modern legislation such words as ‘reasonable’, ‘fair’ or ‘adequate’ to define the standards to be applied by the administration in decision-making. These phrases have no precise connotation, so they have to be worked out in the light of experience and other considerations of broad socio-economic policy as well, and a court may not be the best forum to do so.
Modern laws give rise to disputes which may not appropriately be solved by applying objective legal principles or standards. This gives rise to conflicts between private and public interests and depends ultimately on ministerial policy or what is desirable in the public interest as a matter of social policy. 6) Expertise A judge is a generalist and a lawyer while adjudication of newly generated controversies need some expertise in various other disciplines. Thus, to decide tax cases, not only a lawyer but also an accountant may be needed.
To decide disputes under urban development legislation, an architect having legal knowledge may be more suited than merely a lawyer. In such diverse areas as housing, social services, town planning, capacity for work, control of transport, professional and trade discipline and others, greater technical experience, greater flexibility and a greater emphasis on social welfare are required that what the ordinary judicial process and tradition permit. 7) Facilitate and smoothens the administrative process.
This system is characterized as administrative adjudication or administrative justice because it is concerned with administration to some extent as it is adopted to help promote the administrative process in the country and the term also indicates that administrators participate in the process of adjudication. Since administrative tribunal is set up because it wants to reduce the burden of ordinary court in settling dispute, there must be several advantages of resorting to the tribunal rather than the latter. Among them are : 1) Flexibility Administrative tribunal brings flexibility and adaptability in adjudication process.
For instance, the ordinary courts of law exhibit a good deal of conservatism and inelasticity of outlook and approach. The justice they administer may become out of harmony with the rapidly changing social conditions. Administrative tribunal, not restrained by rigid rules of procedure and canons of evidence, can remain in tune with the varying phases of social and economic life. 2) Adequate justice In the fast changing world of today, administrative tribunals are not only the most appropriate means of administrative action, but also the most effective means of giving fair justice to the individuals.
Lawyers, who are more concerned about aspects of law, find it difficult to adequately assess the needs of the modern welfare society and to locate the individuals place in it. 3) Less expensive Process in administrative tribunal ensures cheap and quick justice. As against this, procedure in the ordinary courts is long and cumbersome and litigation is costly. It involves payment of huge court fees, engagement of lawyers and meeting of other incidental charges. Administrative adjudication in most cases, requires no stamp fees. Its procedures are simple and can be easily understood by a layman. ) Relief to courts Administrative tribunal gives the much-needed relief to ordinary courts of law, which are already overburdened with ordinary suits. 5) Experimentation Experimentation is possible in this field and not in the realm of judicial trials. The practical experience gained in the working of any particular authority can be more easily utilized by amendments of law, rules and regulations. Amendment of law relating to courts is quite arduous. With the increasing role of administration in citizens’ life, the administrative tribunals play a crucial role in the redressal of citizens; grievances.
Various types of administrative tribunals are set up in the country to address various issues, such as the adjudication of disputes and complaints of the public servants, redressal of consumer disputes, industrial disputes, disputes pertaining to income tax etc. They provide greater flexibility in administering justice and provide relief to the courts. Still, they are not as good as ordinary courts. They have the limitations in carrying out their duties, they need proper safeguards in the exercise of power and they need to be reviewed and improved from time to time. references Jain, M. 1997). Administrative Law of Malaysia and Singapore. Kuala Lumpur: Malayan Law Journal. Unit 23 Administrative Tribunals. (n. d. ). Retrieved November 2011, from http://www. egyankosh. ac. in ——————————————– [ 2 ]. It is set up under Part VI, Chapter 2 of the Income Tax Act 1967. [ 3 ]. It functions under the provisions of the Income Tax Act. [ 4 ]. Jain, MP. (1997). Administrative Law of Malaysia and Singapore, Kuala Lumpur: Malayan Law Journal [ 5 ]. Unit 23 Administrative Tribunals. (n. d). Retrieved November 2011, from http://www. egyankosh. ac. in