Some disputes are better resolved out of court. Alternative Dispute resolutions are methods to resolve disputes out of court. Tribunals are one such way. Resolving disputes via the fixed legal framework of the court may confbe detrimental if parties prefer to have more control. The aggressive atmosphere may also dvide parties making them enemies, this is bad if there is a need to sustain relationship. Judges may have technical difficulties in understanding cases hence expert witnesses may be called in, incurring time and cost. Privacy Is also an issue as some cases eg business affairs are better kept private.
Also, courts will enforced solutions which may not be the most optimum solutions that parties would have preferred. The problems of court hearings calls for the need for Tribunals. Tribunals are specialist judicial bodies which deals with disputes concerning particular areas of law. They give individuals the entitlements to social rights. The cases are usually between the court and citizens but it may also be between private individuals or to do with employment. An example would be Employment tribunal(deals with discrimination an unfair dismissal), Aslym and Immigratioon tribunal that deals with the appeals on the Home Secretary Decision.
The Mental Health Review Tribunal deals with cases concerning the application for the release of sectioned patients. Tribunals usually consists of a chairman, and 2 lay person with expertise on the particular area. Hearings are less intimidating and less formal. Gowns and wigs are not worn and strict rules of evidence do not apply. However, tribunals can exercise the power of the state that is similar to a court which is to sentence individuals to prison for contempt of court. In the case of Peach Grey v Sommers, R claimes unfair dismissal from his employer.
He sought to put pressure on relevant witnesses. The courts held that interference in a tribunal can amount to contempt of court. He was sent to prison. Legal representatives are not encouraged. However, individuals can represent themselves. in particular cases concerning difficult matters of law, individuals can hire legal representation. They need not be lawyers and can be a ‘friend’ that may be a social trade union worker, experts in relevant field. However, they too can be sentenced to prison. In the case of Bache v Asses, a woman P was represented by a lay person X.
X insisted on raising irrelevant matters and the tribunal directed P to represent herself. However, it was held that tribunals can insist on proper behaviour but not restrict the right to legal representation. The usual procedure in tribunals are where both parties present their cases and a witnesses may be called upon to give evidence. Judges will them ensure that the case is fully presented. Procedures are more formal in Employment and Asylum tribunal. Witnesses can be called upon to give evidence on oath and be cross examined. There is lack of funding up to the hearing of the case.
Except in employment asylum,mental heal review and tax. Each side bears their own cost and there are no court fees. There is also privacy as tribunals do not have to disclose cases to public. Appeals cannot be made on a decision however it can be made on a point of law. The appeal is first heard by the First Tier Tribunal, followed by a Upper Tier Tribunal. There are routes leading up to High Court or Court of Appeal. Final appeals go to Supreme court. Appeals can only be made when the decision is perverse. No appeal can be made against decision by Mental Health review Tribunals, decision are binding.
The advantages of tribunals is that they are cheap, as there are no court fees. Parties can represent themselves so there are no lawyer fees. It is private and they process cases quicker than courts. Which may reduce the burden of the courts. It is also less formal than courts, hence parties may be more willing to voice out issues. There is no precedent which allows the process to be flexible. Thy are also specific, save time and cost. Specific save time and cost. No court or aw yer fees represent themselbes Privacy no fear disclose No precedent Quick process
However, tribunals lack funding. Applicants have to foot the bill themselves. This may be expensive if applicants are legally represented. If they do not, it will be very unfair if the other side has legal representation. Parties may be confused by the procedure as it is more formal than other forms of ADR. Privacy can also lead to suspicion of fairness. No precedent would make law uncertain and unpredictable. Also delays as Employment Tribunal takes up a year to be heard. Appeals an additional year.. Poor decisions made due to speed informality and inconsistency.
Although tribunals may be effective form of ADR it has its drawbacks. The other The advantages of tribunals us they are cheap and less court fees. Tribunals process cases quicker than courts hence reduce workload of courts. They are specific hence save time and cost. No legal representation rep themselves no lawyer fees. However, there are disadvantages no funding parties foot own bill exp if there is legal rep. If choose not, unfair if other side has legal rep. No precedent decision uncertain inconsistent and unpredictable. Parties confused as more formal than other forms of ADR.