Two words that are used extensively and often misused in disciplinary matters, are the words “natural justice”. To further confuse this there are other words used to attempt to make those words easier to understand, such as procedural fairness.
John Forbes in his book “Justice in Tribunals” when talking about natural justice said this “The expression is apt to create real or pretended confusion. In the common law sense it does not mean anything so lofty as ideal justice or a perfect answer to every litigant’s complaint or simply a result that satisfies a party. It is a high sounding name for a relatively novice goal of fair procedure”.
There are circumstances in which a person is entitled to natural justice. One of those circumstances is where a person is facing a disciplinary tribunal. In that context you would presume natural justice will apply. It is possible however that natural justice may be specifically excluded, but in the context of sport this is highly unlikely to be the case. The key elements to natural justice are as follows:
There are a couple of other issue which are not strictly principles of natural justice, but lead to the provision of natural justice.
Providing natural justice is remarkably simple. Parties just need to follow these principles and act fairly and reasonably.
For further reading on this topic the best publication is Forbes’ book Justice in Tribunals.
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