The Pros And Cons Of The Tribunal System

1271 words - 5 pages

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Tribunal System

In order to identify the advantages and disadvantage of the tribunal system and the court system it is necessary to firstly identify what they are, their purpose and then what the advantages and disadvantages of these two systems of dispute resolution are.

The courts are the formal courts of law that have been established over many years. Their purpose is to uphold the law of the land as dictated by statute and impose this law over those who appear to be in contradiction of these laws. A traditional court proceeding involves to opposing parties who present the facts of the case to the court and the presiding judge or sheriff rules in favour of one of the parties. Their judgement is based upon previous rulings and statutory interpretation normally however other factors can be taken into consideration.

A tribunal is not entirely dissimilar to the court system in the way that it works. However it is important to note that 'Tribunals are not ordinary courts, but they are neither appendages of Government Departments' . Tribunals were created to provide an alternative form of dispute resolution independent of the Government Department concerned. A Chairman who listens to the case put forward oversees tribunals. They are aided by Wing members who represent opposing sides of the argument being put forward. The case is presented and with the aid normally of expert opinions from the likes of Doctors and Chartered Surveyors, a decision is made based on the merits of the case.

The courts have been in place for a number of years they have a lot of precedents which means that all cases should be treated in the same way thus allowing the court system to be fair to all. It is possible when seeking redress for a specific incident to gain Legal Aid for the case when proceeding through the courts; this is no Legal Aid

for Tribunals though it is the intention for them to be much cheaper than the court system. It has been shown however that having legal representation at the tribunal can substantially increase the likelihood of success. In the Social Security Appeal Tribunal research showed that an applicant's chance of success rose from 30per cent to 48 per cent when they had legal representation. This casts some doubt about the system, which is supposed to be fair for all but has been proven that if you have a lawyer representing you the chances of success are greater.

The advantage of choosing the tribunal system is that it is not strictly bound by the restrictions of rules of evidence and precedent. Although, tribunals are to some degree bound by the decisions of other tribunals they have a greater degree of flexibility in their decision-making powers. This in itself means that tribunals can give the appellant a greater chance of success especially since tribunals can admit evidence that a court might perhaps refuse to listen to, for example hearsay evidence.

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