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6 Canadian Lab. & Emp. L.J. 1 (1998)

handle is hein.journals/canlemj6 and id is 1 raw text is: The Price of Administrative Justice

Judith McCormack*
In this article, the author considers the importance of independence in the
administrative justice system. The author points out that for many people, the
decisions made by administrative tribunals may have a far more profound and direct
effect on their lives than those of the courts. The author argues that the security of
tenure of administradve adjudicators is crucial Jbr the independence of tribunals.
The work of administrative tribunals has become more complex and important in the
last 25 years, but their structures and procedural frameworks have not kept pace
with this evolution in responsibilities.  The author argues that the failure to
adequately address the tension between the public policy role of administrative
agencies and the need for an independent decision-making body has become skewed
in favour of greater government involvemnent at a time when far less intervention is
warranted. The author suggests that even modest changes to the appointments
process could help ensure the integrity of the administrative justice system.
In February 1997, the Canadian Institute for the Administration
of Justice sponsored a round table discussion on the evolving role of
administrative tribunals. Each participant was asked to make some
opening remarks. S. Ronald Ellis, then Chair of the Ontario Workers'
Compensation Appeals Tribunal, began his comments by describing
a case in which an injured worker had taken his own life upon
receiving the tribunal's decision dismissing his appeal. Ellis' point
was an eloquently simple one, but one that is often lost or obscured
in debates about administrative justice; these decisions matter.
They matter to quite a substantial portion of our society as well.
Nowadays, a citizen is more likely to come into contact with an
administrative tribunal than he is to find himself in court. As Edward
*   Sack Goldblatt Mitchell, Toronto, Ontario; former Chair and Vice-Chair,
Ontario Labour Relations Board, 1986-1995.

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