Reviewing Decisions in a Court

Administrative Review Tribunals do not have the power to review every administrative decision2. Where a tribunal is asked to review a decision on merits, it can intervene only in instances where specifically provided for by statute.3 Moreover the Tribunal must also have the necessary jurisdiction conferred on it. But there is much wider scope provided for a merits review, as compared to a judicial review since the former involves a reconsideration of the entire decision-making process and the decision itself to examine whether it is the correct decision, so that a new decision may be the result of a merits review. The Tribunal has the power for a wide range of administrative actions, including suspending or revoking certificates, issuing or refusing licenses, imposing conditions, making declarations or refusing to do so5, and this also encompasses doing or refusing to do any act or thing. While the decisions of tribunals are not enforceable, they do have the persuasive force of the original decision maker and do not infringe upon the doctrine of separation of powers. The nature of a tribunal’s decision is final and operative, however, they cannot make original decisions, only substitute or review on decisions actually made by a decision maker.9 The Tribunal has the power to review whether a decision was the correct and preferable one on the material before it.10 Therefore while the Tribunal does not have the power to make new decisions on matters not already decided by an administrative decision maker, it is not obliged to make decisions in accordance with the administrative policy. It is allowed some leeway in reviewing the decision, even departing from Government policy, unless some specific statutory provision requires adherence to administrative policy or curtails the discretionary power of the tribunal in making decisions.

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