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The power of an administrative tribunal to inform itself
journal contributionposted on 2015-01-01, 00:00 authored by Matthew GrovesMatthew Groves
Administrative tribunals are usually granted many novel procedural powers such as a power of a tribunal to inform itself as the tribunal thinks fit. These powers are typically granted on discretionary terms and are intended to help tribunals achieve their key goals, which is to provide justice in a less formal but fair manner. The requirements of fairness can restrict the exercise of novel procedural powers such as ones allowing tribunals to inform themselves as they think fit. This article examines statutory powers of tribunals to inform themselves and argues that those powers clearly authorise tribunals to take small steps to clarify or confirm matters already in issue. The article argues that fairness is the guiding principle for the exercise by a tribunal of a power to inform itself as it thinks fit. The article also argues that the statutory powers of tribunals to inform themselves means that tribunals should rarely, if ever, need to rely on the doctrine of official notice as an alternative way of informing themselves.