TRIBUNAL INDEPENDENCE – WHAT WE’VE ALWAYS KNOWN

The Honorable R. Roy McMurtry, Chief Justice of Ontario (as he then was), speaking to SOAR’s Annual COBA Conference, November 1997 **:

It is [because of] the potential enormity of the impact of decisions of administrative justice system agencies on people’s lives, particularly the lives of the poor and disadvantaged in our society, that the actual and perceived independence and the actual and perceived fairness of our administrative justice system agencies must be seen to be fundamental to the rule of law and to the health of our society.

Independence and fairness are the bulwarks of the rule of law and the essential counterweights to the always understandable push for more efficiency.

Independence means, of course, having administrative justice agencies and their adjudicators so positioned and organized that they see themselves and are seen by others as being free to decide undeterred by outside influences or fear of personal consequences.

** As referenced in Ellis, “Appointments Policies In The Administrative Justice System – Lessons From Ontario –  Four Speeches”, (1997-1998) 11 Can. J. Admin. L. & Prac. 205 at pp 250-251.

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