Monthly Archives: June 2009

The Lawyer’s Tribunal

Originally published as an editorial under a joint by-line with Tim Westcott and Gilda Di Vincenzo in “The Lawyers’ Tribunal,” Planning News 35, no. 5 (June 2009): 4.

By the time you read this, the submission period will likely have just closed for the VCAT review.1

The Tribunal is to be commended for conducting this important review. Commenting on the Tribunal’s performance is fraught with difficulty, however. Firstly, it is hard to generalise about the performance of a Tribunal constituting many different Members; the quality of the Tribunal’s performance varies from encounter to encounter. Given the passion that often accompanies VCAT hearings, it’s also a strong test of participants’ objectivity to try to judge when they got a fair hearing and when they were dealt a legitimate stinker. Finally, one needs to filter valid grievances from the great deal of unjustified criticism that swirls around simply because the Tribunal is at the pointy end of the process and has to make hard and unpopular calls that others chicken out of.

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