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Book Review: Justice in Tribunals 4th ed. Print E-mail

justice-in-tribunals-intro.jpgAuthor: J R S Forbes
Publisher: The Federation Press
Reviewer: Alexis N. Gage

“Knowledge is Power!” – Auntie Mame 1

Brilliant. Dr. Forbes does it again with another brilliantly written book.

I was given a wonderful opportunity to review Dr. Forbes’ Justice in Tribunals (4th ed.) and I would highly recommend it.

Also, in my humble opinion, Justice in Tribunals should be a required textbook for law schools teaching advocacy and litigation as a class. Dr. Forbes’ table of cases is complete and comprehensive. His research of case law applied in each chapter’s themes is done exceptionally.

The book is organized into 17 chapters and Dr. Forbes outlines the content of those chapters within chapter 1. Overall, the chapters in this book are well organized and comprehensible.

Chapter 2 focuses on an in-depth understanding of the manner in which courts assume jurisdiction over statutory tribunals.

Chapter 3 examines the courts’ limited control of private decision-makers excluding decisions affecting the plaintiff’s economic interests.

Chapter 4 deals with decisions resulting in expulsion, suspension, imposition of fines, or refusal or cancellation of a license for members of associations or licensees.

Chapter 5 provides further in-depth understanding of the nature of private tribunals and their significance in matters of social or economic importance. The chapter also deals with the legislation that allows for statutory appeal against some of those decisions of private tribunals to a court or a public tribunal.

Chapter 6 focuses on legal error and the courts’ control over public and private tribunals in circumstances not involving an appeal on the merits.

Chapter 7 focuses on the historical importance of and the meaning of natural justice.

Chapters 8 to 14 elaborate on audi alteram partem (right to be heard), the first principle of natural justice.

Chapter 12 centers on the law governing hearings in public and private tribunals.

Chapter 13 considers whether there is any duty at common law for tribunals to provide reasons.

Chapter 14 considers whether fairness requires some form of internal appeal from decisions of primary tribunals.

Chapter 15 investigates the second of the “twin pillars” of natural justice, namely, the right to be heard by a decision-maker whose mind is open to persuasion. The concept of a reasonable suspicion of bias is addressed and its application is distinguished as between a statutory tribunal and a private tribunal.

Chapter 16 provides a summary of procedural remedies afforded in actions against public and private tribunals.

To conclude, chapter 17 reflects the judicial control of Royal Commissions and other public inquiries.

In conclusion, I believe Justice in Tribunals is a wonderful investment for any set of chambers.

Alexis N. Gage
24 July 2014


1. Patrick Dennis (novel), Betty Comden and Adolph Green (Screen play). Auntie Mame, 1958.


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