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Canadian Journal of Administrative Law and Practice. Volume 24 (2011), p. 17.


I have been following the United Kingdom reforms with interest, and in particular, the journey Lord Justice Carnwath has been pursuing with the Tribunal community in the United Kingdom (UK). The establishment of a unified Tribunals system arose out of a desire to bring tribunals more expressly under the umbrella of the justice system in order to better serve parties coming before those tribunals. The rationales for the UK reform were set out in a 2001 review conducted by Sir Andrew Leggett -- “Tribunals for Users -- One system One Service.”I would like to offer a Canadian perspective on the UK tribunal reform, and to do so in light of new legislation in Ontario, Adjudicative Tribunals Accountability, Governance and Appointments Act, 2009. Until this legislation, and analogous legislative initiatives in Alberta in 2008 and in B.C. in 2004, Canadian administrative tribunals existed largely in isolation from one another. Each was created pursuant to a legislative mandate, housed within a different ministry, and subject to disparate approaches to staffing, budgeting and administration. Some have Chairs who were also CEOs while others had separate Chairs and CEO. Some have full-time members, others part-time members, and some both. The subject matter of these tribunals could not be more disparate -- as LeBel J. famously remarked in Blencoe v. 18 British Columbia (Human Rights Commission).

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