In his keynote address this morning to the Council of Tribunals' conference, the Lord Chancellor announced a wide-ranging review of the tribunal system in the UK. The review will be undertaken by Sir Andrew Legatt, assisted by a named panel of expert consultees, with an anticipated report in March 2001.
The terms of reference for the review are as follows (paraphrased):
To review the delivery of justice through tribunals other than ordinary courts of law, constituted under an Act of Parliament by a Minister of the Crown or for purposes of a Minister's functions; in resolving disputes, whether between citizens and the state, or between other parties, so as to ensure that:
• there are fair, timely, proportionate and effective arrangements for handling disputes, within an effective legal framework;
• the administrative and practical arrangements for supporting decision-making meet the requirements of the ECHR for independence and impartiality;
• there are adequate arrangements for improving people's knowledge and understanding of their rights and responsibilities in relation to tribunals;
• whether the arrangements for the funding and management of tribunals are efficient, effective and economical.
• to consider performance standards for tribunals, to ensure these are coherent and consistent - and effective; and
• that tribunals overall constitute a coherent structure for the delivery of administrative justice.
The last review of the tribunal system was in 1957 (the Franks report).
A copy of the Lord Chancellor's speech is attached to this bulletin in text format.