Specialized Administrative Agencies
Courses are specifically designed for administrative board and tribunal members who wish to learn hearing procedures and acquire decision making skills. Some courses are designed for chairs and senior board members who wish to enhance their management skills and build upon their experience. This program is complementary to the Foundations of administrative justice offered by some provincial and territorial councils of administrative tribunals.
Courses address specific needs and problems common to all members involved in the hearing and writing process, and the day-to-day running of boards and tribunals.
The teaching faculty, from administrative boards or tribunals, the judiciary, the legal profession, and from academia have been chosen for their expertise in administrative law as well as their experience in conducting hearings and in drafting decisions.
Participants will gain from the experience of their instructors and their fellow board or tribunal members.
The Hearing Process
A one-day seminar for newly appointed members of Administrative Boards or Tribunals or members who wish a refresher session:
Conduct of a Hearing: The Adjudicator's perspective, the Counsel's perspective: The 'rules of natural justice', basic requirements of fairness and impartiality, basic elements of a hearing, i.e. pre-hearing considerations, pre-hearing conferences, summonses, interlocutory proceedings, presenting the case of a hearing, adjournments, management of proceedings, adequate disclosure of information, legitimate expectations;
Issues of Independence: Degree of accountability and independence, techniques for achieving consistency and coherence, collegiality;
The Impact of the Charter and Judicial Review Charter applications to administrative proceedings; common grounds for judicial review.
Laws of evidence as applied by administrative tribunals
A one-day introductory course designed for newly appointed tribunal members and those without legal training:
What is evidence? Direct, circumstantial, viva voce, affidavit, documentary, real, demonstrative, expert etc., why do we have rules of evidence?
Evidence and administrative tribunals: How do the rules of evidence apply to administrative tribunals? Common law versus statutory law of evidence; standard and burden of proof;
- Relevance, materiality, admissibility and weight: How do you decide what to let in and what to exclude? Assessing credibility;
- Oral testimony: The oath, exclusion of orders, evidence in chief vs. cross-examination vs. re-examination;
- Hearsay: What is it? Why administrative tribunals can admit hearsay;
- Privilege: What is it? Statutory provisions relating to application of law of privilege;
- How to deal with evidentiary objections: Using pre-hearing and case management processes to identify and deal with evidentiary issues.
Key cases where typical evidentiary issues are dealt with would form the basis of study and discussions during the course.
Two-day seminars with presentations and workshops. Much of the instruction centres on written exercises and decision drafting. Participants are asked to submit sample decisions when registering which are reviewed in advance by instructors and discussed in class.
For both newly appointed and experienced members who wish to develop specific techniques to improve their decision writing skills:
- What constitutes reasons for decisions: Who, when, why and how to give reasons for decision, statutory duty, the common law, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms;
- Decisions writing: Hands-on analysis of actual decisions, emphasizing facts, issues and conclusions, with some study of style, grammar, plain language and gender neutral language.
Advanced Decision writing, for participants who have completed an earlier decision-writing course, features more individualized analysis and instruction.
Customized Program Delivery
The CIAJ will consider requests from specialized tribunals and self governing professions for specific tailored programs on any combination of courses as described above. Tribunal Governance may also be an area of concentration for Chairs and Board members concerned with management issues such as:
Governance: Efficient functioning of tribunals or their processes through efficient policy-making and administrative processes, institutional building/strengthening, administrative competence and transparency, delimitation of powers and duties of officials; ethical issues, administrative discipline;
Role of tribunal officials: The management role of the chair, responsibility to the minister and the legislature, managing caseloads, streamlining of procedures, use of alternate dispute resolution;
Role of tribunal staff: Fairness and equity in dealings with the public, beginning with first contact; developing and applying board policy;
Communications: getting the board's message across, establishing relations with the media, managing controversial issues.