In this paper, the author deals with the legal foundations of judicial control over errors of law allegedly committed by administrative authorities. The paper also considers the scope of error of law on the face of the record as a ground of review. More specifically, the author has examined all the decisions rendered by the Quebec Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, and the Supreme Court of Canada in 1980 and 1981 where there was an allegation of error of law. From this statistical analysis, the author describes and explains the different, and seemingly contradictory, results achieved by these different jurisdictions. The author adds some comments on the constitutionality of privative clauses excluding judicial review of non-jurisdictional errors of law.
The Ombudsman is one of the three recognised control agents of today's Public Administration. He has his own characteristics that make him the most accessible, speedy, low cost and efficient instrument of safeguard against illegal, irregular or arbitrary administrative action. A thorough study of the Ombudsmen of two major provinces, Ontario and Québec, is more than interesting and makes one wonder why the 1978 federal project was abandonned.
In a broad perpective, that includes a cost-benefit analysis, a comparison between the Ombudsman and the system of administrative appeal or review tribunals allows us to characterize each's specific role and evaluate the need they are respectively intended to fill.
The doctrine of « procedural fairness » is widening its scope of application to all kinds of administrative decisions. « Procedure » must, as a notion, therefore be clearly defined. The definitions given by the authors or by case-law make it difficult to distinguish between « procedure » and « merits ».
The jurisprudence of the Commission de la Fonction publique du Québec, an appeal Tribunal under the Quebec Civil Service Act, is quite relevant since section 77 of the Act gives to the Commission jurisdiction to hear appeals when « the verification procedure of eligibility of candidates or the selection procedure was irregular or illegal ».
The Commission, as a specialised expert appeal Tribunal, has adopted a very liberal approach of the concept of procedure. From that experience one may question the diserability of having the ordinary Courts of Justice control of the fairness of administrative procedure. If so, which of an Administrative Tribunal or a Superior Court is the appropriate forum to deal with procedural deficiencies within the administrative process? Up to now, Administrative Tribunals have done well in that field.
Cet article est divisé en deux parties. Dans la première (et de loin la plus longue) partie, l'auteur expose le processus décisionnel de règlement des litiges en matière de prestations de sécurité sociale en droit anglais. Après avoir exposé la hiérarchie ascendante des autorités décisionnelles (fonctionnaire, tribunal administratif local et commissaire), l'auteur analyse la procédure suivie par ces différentes autorités. Il décrit ainsi successivement l'étape de la décision initiale par le fonctionnaire compétent, celle de l'appel du tribunal et enfin celle de l'appel ultérieur au commissaire. Toutefois, la plus grande partie de l'exposé vise le fonctionnement du tribunal. La première partie de l'article traite également du rôle du ministre ainsi que celui dévolu aux cours de justice en ce domaine. La seconde partie de l'article traite de certains aspects formalistes et non formalistes de la procédure du tribunal. L'auteur utilise à cet égard son expérience en tant que président de l'un de ces tribunaux.
The exercise of diverse powers whether « administrative » or judicial or quasi-judicial by administrative bodies, raises many procedural issues. This article approaches them from a comparative point of view, hocking at selected cases from of Ontario and Quebec courts and the Federal Court of Canada. The cases studied concern the judicial control of administrative procedure followed by central institutions (that is, the Crown, governmental departments and administrative agencies, commissions or boards) in the three systems of law mentioned. A comparative approach permits us to identify existing trends in the immense body of day-to-day decisions made by the courts. Thus, with respect to the many procedural questions raised by administrative and governmental decision-making, elements of convergence or divergence can be identified in the judicial answers given to practical issues.
Natural justice and fairness (the « new natural justice ») are well known notions of administrative law. They constitute traditional and newer limits on administrative action. This article analyses these two principles, both as to their nature and the extent to which they are respected by administrative bodies and by government (the Crown and central departments). This latter aspect is illustrated by cases pertaining to the judicial control exercised by the Federal Court of Canada and the Ontario and Quebec superior courts.
The approach followed is a comparative one. The paper attempts to identify those judicial trends within the three systems studied which [emphasize] [differences and similarities] in their responses to the various practical issues raised by natural justice and fairness and their respect in administrative decision-making processes. Thus, the study attempts to retrieve from the case law considered those notional and methodological elements, or principles, which structure judicial control and judical reasoning in solving the issues raised by the processes in motion.