Difference Between Court and Tribunal

Simeon Samson, a 43-year-old man from Ogun, was brought before an Ota Magistrate's Court on Tuesday on charges of using counterfeit money.

Both courts and tribunals are places where legal disputes are settled. However, there are some important differences between the two.

The state sets up courts with a formal set-up with judges and court staff. They have the power to make sure that laws are followed and to punish people who break the law. Courts handle both criminal and civil cases, and they are often used for significant, complicated cases with a lot of attention.

On the other hand, tribunals are set up to settle certain kinds of disputes, like jobs or immigration. Most of the time, they are less formal than courts and are run by a group of experts in the field instead of a judge. Tribunals are easier to use and more open to the public than courts. They also offer a more streamlined way to settle disputes.

What is a Court?

A court is where legal disputes are settled through a formal process. It is a part of the legal system that has the power to enforce the law, explain what it means, and make binding legal decisions. The state makes courts and gives them a formal structure with judges, staff, and courtrooms. They are responsible for hearing and making decisions about criminal and civil cases. In criminal cases, the court decides if a person is guilty, and if they are, they give them punishments. The court decides between private parties or organisations in civil cases, like contract disputes, property disputes, and personal injury claims. Courts are essential for upholding the rule of law and giving everyone and every organisation access to justice.

What is a Tribunal?

A tribunal is where certain legal disputes can be settled outside the court system. Tribunals are usually run by a subject matter expert instead of a judge and are usually less formal than courts. They are meant to be a more accessible and user-friendly alternative to the court system. They often have streamlined procedures that make it easier for people to bring a case or defend themselves.

Tribunals are essential to the legal system because they make it easier and faster for people and groups to settle disagreements. Tribunals can be set up to handle many different kinds of disputes, such as those about employment, immigration, taxes, and the environment. They can also be used to settle disagreements between private parties, like consumer complaints or contracts. A tribunal’s decisions are legally binding and can be carried out like a court’s.

Difference Between Court and Tribunal

While both courts and tribunals serve the same purpose of settling legal issues, they are not identical.

In terms of jurisdiction, courts and tribunals differ significantly from one another. A vast range of situations can be brought before a court, from civil disputes to criminal trials to matters involving the family. Conversely, tribunals are set up to handle cases in specialised areas of law, such as labour, immigration, or social security. Its goal is to offer a more targeted and specialised method of conflict resolution.

A further distinguishing feature is the fundamental differences in their organisational frameworks. Judges, attorneys, and support staff make up the tiers of a court’s organisational structure. Contrarily, tribunals tend to be less stuffy and are frequently presided over by a panel of specialists rather than a judge. This makes them easier to use and access, possibly encouraging more people to represent themselves in court without hiring a solicitor.

Finally, courts and tribunals adopt different procedures. Tight standards govern evidence and procedure in court, and trials can take a long time and be challenging to follow. In contrast, tribunals are typically less stuffy and employ a more streamlined approach, which can lead to a more timely and effective resolution of conflicts.

In conclusion, both courts and tribunals aim to settle legal issues, but they differ in their jurisdiction, organisational structure, and operational methods. Tribunals are less formal and adopt a more simplified approach to conflict settlement than courts, which have a more generalised jurisdiction and a more complex process.