Principles of natural justice

Goddess of justice

Fair procedures follow the principles of “natural justice”:

  • “No one should be a judge in their own cause” – decision makers must come to matters without bias or a reasonable perception of bias;
  • “Hear the other side” – each party must have a fair hearing;
  • “Justice delayed is justice denied” – the process must be completed without delay.

In addition, decision makers must make reasonable decisions, and give reasons for their decisions. In disciplinary procedures, this means that:

  • Students understand any allegation against them;
  • The student and the person bringing the allegation have a fair opportunity to present their case and to hear and respond to what the other has said;
  • Students are given reasonable notice of any hearing and are given in advance copies of all information to be considered by the decision maker;
  • The burden and standard of proof are clearly explained;
  • Decision makers should be free from bias or any reasonable perception of bias;
  • Reasons should be given for decisions reached and any penalty imposed;
  • There should be a route of appeal; and
  • The investigation, any hearing, and any appeal should be carried out as quickly as possible, consistent with fairness.

(Office of the Independent Adjudicator 2020)

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