Q

Q


Quasi-judicial


Courts are only one of many bodies which carry out the function of applying formal rules to actual situations and then deciding between claims. In any modern state there are literally thousands of administrative tribunals and committees doing, within a restricted sphere, much what the official courts do for the whole of law. Thus a tribunal which decides on disputed welfare entitlements, a committee which dispenses compensation to companies who claim to have lost property abroad as the result of hostile acts of a foreign government, and a local-government officer setting fair rents for private houses all act in a quasi-judicial manner. Similarly, disciplinary bodies within private organizations as, for example, the dean of an Oxford college or a trade union disciplinary committee, act in some ways like a magistrate. (It is precisely because such bodies are often too easily accused of ignoring due process that there is an increasing tendency for the state to provide external disciplinary, arbitration or complaints procedures.) In most jurisdictions some powers adhere in the official courts to supervise such quasi-judicial actions, and appeals can be made from within the quasi-judicial hierarchy to the external court systems. The extent to which the courts will or can supervise such activities varies enormously, and they will very seldom hear an appeal on the merits of the case. They are, though, prone to insist on procedural guidelines such as the rules of natural justice in English law

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