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The right to evidence in administrative law – the textbook version

May 27, 2010

Some quick insights on the obligation to disclose evidence from a Canadian textbook on administrative law.

From Jones & de Villars, Principles of Administrative Law, 2nd Edition (1994):

Generally fairness requires that all information relied upon by the tribunal when making its decision be disclosed to the individual. Failure to do so deprives the tribunal of jurisdiction and renders the decision void. The information to be disclosed includes reports prepared by the tribunal’s staff or any other report which the tribunal has relied on in making its decision. (pp. 267-268)

Without knowing what might be said against them, people cannot properly present their case. (p. 251)

However, in certain exceptional circumstances, the state may withhold sources of information if disclosure would undermine a legitimate state purpose (p. 251).

These seem to be the same basic principles that UNHCR has advocated to governments, and that NGOs have called on UNHCR to apply in its own RSD systems.

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