Courts and Tribunal

One of the differences between a court and tribunal is that a court is more formal, with more elaborate rules about how a case must be run. A tribunal in most cases, offers a straightforward, quicker and cheaper way of trying to resolve a dispute. Tribunals can save time by using lawyers less and asking people involved in a case to represent themselves.  In most cases, courts and tribunals are open to the public.

  • Tribunals generally have many features that are similar to courts, for example:
  • Tribunals, like courts, are independent. They are separated from the executive and legislative branches of government.
  • Tribunals and courts are open to the public.
  • Tribunals and courts have a duty to be transparent by providing reasons for their decisions.
  • Parties have the right to appeal against decisions of courts and tribunals.

Some examples of the differences between courts and tribunals include:

  • Tribunals have a more relaxed approach to the rules of evidence than courts. 
  • Tribunals encourage and often require parties to speak on their own behalf.  Lawyers are only permitted in special circumstances.
  • Tribunals often specialise in resolving disputes in a particular area.  Courts generally have the power to hear a much broader range of cases.
  • It is usually much cheaper to resolve a dispute at a tribunal rather than have it litigated at court.

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