JUSTICE ADMINISTRATIVE ET EQUITE
AbstractAdopting the style developed by Thomas Hobbes in his famous text, A Dialogue between a Philosopher and a Student of the Common Laws of England, the author offers a socratic form dialogue on a subject which was debated in November, 1998 at a meeting of the Canadian Bar Association : the ambiguous relations between equity and administrative justice. The student, representing equity, puts questions to the professor who, in his explanations, reflects the reality of the law. As the dialogue progresses, the student's disappointment grows, as positive law leaves little room for administrative tribunals to act in equity given the limits of their statutory jurisdiction. Several dimensions are considered, in particular the systemic bias resulting from the duty to protect the public, the requirements of impartiality and of independance, the varietv of administrative bodies, the expertise and the statutory framework, the relations between public interest and the defense of the citizens' rights, the challenge of alternative dispute resolution, the patently unreasonable decision and the role of ombudsmen and courts in matters of equity. Nevertheless, the conversation ends on a positive note since the expertise of administrative tribunals within the limits of their specialized jurisdiction can compensate, to a certain extent, for the impossibility of rendering decisions in pure equity.
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