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Tuesday, 7 December 1965

Mr BUCHANAN (McMillan) . - One of the difficulties that we have in finding out what is meant by this legislation is in assessing the basis on which we decide who will provide the onus of proof. Right through the Bill the onus is entirely on a party to show that what he is doing is within the law. I put it to the AttorneyGeneral that although the legislation provides that decisions will be made by the Tribunal, these will be decisions not only on questions of law but also on questions of fact. The honorable gentleman seems to ignore that point, if 1 have read his answer correctly. Every decision of the Tribunal is to be final and without appeal. That is entirely contrary to all the traditions of British Justice.In every aspect of anything legal that I have come in contact with there has been some court of appeal. In this Bill we seem to have ignored this tradition completely. The very composition of the Tribunal is such as will lend itself to errors on matters of fact. On it we are to have a mixture of people. We will have a presidential gentleman who, no doubt, will be very conversant with thelaw. But we will also have businessmen, economists and academics. They will be entirely lacking in training and experience in the proper exercise of judicial powers. I submit that it is essential that there be some right of appeal against their decisions.

There should be some right of appeal against all aspects of the Tribunal's decisions if we are to have fair and just administration. I cannot see how we can possibly put into effect legislation which provides for a sham review. And it is a sham because the Bill stipulates only that Review Division shall write a letter to the originating Tribunal saying: "We do not think you have done the right thing about this". The Review Division has no power to make decisions. Surely, in any aspect of enforcement of the law, the people who are being deprived of rights that they have established over years of business practice should have the right to appeal to a legal authority which will be able to decide the matter. Such a procedure would be much better than the rather loose arrangement provided for at present.

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