Structure and Procedure of Quasi-Judicial Bodies/Administrative Tribunals

Structure

Quasi-judicial body/administrative authority exercising adjudicatory powers/administrative adjudication

(i) Not based on any uniform conventional pattern, and is derived from a statute or a statutory rule

(ii) Sometimes they are an integral part of the administration, and sometimes autonomous.

(iii) Adjudicatory powers may be given to a single individual or to a multi-member body.



(iv) Besides exercising adjudicatory powers, they may also exercise other regulatory and administrative powers.

(v) No uniform formal qualification is prescribed. Sometimes, a legal qualification is prescribed and sometimes a technical qualification

unlike courts where the structure is based on uniform pattern, and judges are required to have the necessary legal qualifications and experience, and they exercise only judicial functions.

However, there are administrative tribunals which are autonomous and their members are required to have prescribed qualifications and exercise only judicial powers.

The only difference between a court and an administrative agency exercising adjudicatory powers/administrative tribunal/quasi-judicial body seems to be the legislative classification. A court is a court because it has been classified as such, and an administrative tribunal is an administrative tribunal because it has been designated as such.

 

Procedure

(i) No uniform procedure which administrative tribunals are required to follow. Differs from agency to agency.

(ii) Sometimes procedure is prescribed by the statute which creates the adjudicatory authority, sometimes the agencies are left free to prescribe their own procedure

(iii) ALL of these administrative tribunals follow the rules of natural justice in adjudication.

(Courts follow a uniform, fixed statutory procedure)

(iv) Many administrative tribunals are vested with the powers of a general court for the purpose of summoning witnesses, examining them on oath, compelling the production of document, etc.

(v) Courts of law are bound by precedents, principle of res judicata and technical rules of the Evidence Act and procedural law; but administrative tribunals are not uniformly and strictly bound by them.

(vi) There is more emphasis on policy considerations, compared to a court of law which is more concerned with application of law in its decision.

(vii) Quicker, cheaper than courts usually.