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The Hon. Justice Garry Downes AM

Administrative Appeals Tribunal's 30th Anniversary Dinner, Canberra
2 August 2006

Thank you very much Chief Justice.

I was particularly struck by your core theme of the desirability for flexibility of procedures. It is an important issue for me. The Tribunal deals with a multi-million dollar tax case with senior counsel on both sides very differently to a social security case where the applicant is unrepresented. The cases are equally important. They both deserve full attention. But the process should be adapted to the nature of the issues and the circumstances of the parties.

One sometimes sees references to adversarial and inquisitorial procedures in discussions of process. I noticed that you did not use these rubrics. This may have been because, although they can convey an instant picture, the vice of their use is to suggest two conflicting, even mutually exclusive, methods. I prefer your emphasis on adaptability and flexibility. The management of each matter should reflect its own facts and circumstances.

Please now join us for cocktails in King's Hall and then for dinner in the Parliamentary Dining Room after we first thank the Chief Justice again for his thought provoking address.