Court vs Tribunal
There are many ways to settle a dispute and it is not necessary to be standing in front of a jury to wait for a judgment. There are administrative tribunals that are less expensive and less formal than courts where resolution of disputes takes place in a much more relaxed manner. Most people are aware of the working of courts because of the way media reports about proceedings of different cases that are important but relatively fewer people get to know about tribunals. This article attempts to take a look at the tribunals and how they differ from courts.
First let us talk about the similarities. Like courts, tribunals are independent of the executive and the legislative bodies of governance. Like courts, they are open to public that can access them for redressal of their grievances. Both courts and tribunals are transparent as they need to cite reasons for their decisions. Lastly, people can appeal in higher courts against the decisions given by both courts and tribunals. However, differences are a lot more and as follows.
Court vs Tribunal
• Rules of evidence are sacred to courts while tribunals adopt a relaxed approach to these rules
• In courts, people rarely get a chance to speak and most of the talking is done by lawyers. On the other hand, tribunals encourage people to stand up and speak and lawyers have little role to play in the settlement of disputes.
• Courts have the power to adjudicate in a variety of cases whereas tribunals specialize in a particular area.
• Litigation in courts is very costly as one has to pay various kinds of fees apart from the fees of attorneys. On the other hand, tribunals prove to be cheaper and quicker for resolution.
• The proceedings of a court are presided over by a judge or a magistrate. On the other hand there is a panel comprising a chairman and other members who are experts in the relevant field.
• Tribunal has lesser powers than a court. For example, a tribunal cannot order imprisonment of a person which is common for a court.
• Tribunals are informal in the sense that there are no special dress codes for different people. On the other hand, courts have a strict code of procedure.
• Whereas a solicitor is necessary in case of courts, they are rarely needed in case of tribunals.