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An appeal tribunal is a panel of officials who hear appeal requests related to government decisions on matters like employment law, taxation, and insurance discrimination. Members of the general public have a right to file a request with a government agency for action on a matter, and if they are not satisfied with the outcome, they can take it to the appeal tribunal. This provides a mechanism for third party evaluation of decisions, and prevents situations where members of the public have to appeal a decision to the same office that originally made it. This can prevent conflict of interest issues.
Not all regions use an appeal tribunal system, and in those that do, the tribunals are only available for certain kinds of decisions. Members of the public usually need to follow a specific procedure to access the tribunal's services, including filing the original claim properly and responding to the decision from the original government agency. Typically the time window for appeals is small, and members of the public who want to file appeals will need to start preparing their documents immediately after receiving a decision.
At the appeal tribunal, the parties to the matter have an opportunity to present their cases to a neutral panel of individuals with qualifications to sit in judgment over the case. If, for example, a consumer applied for assistance with suspected insurance discrimination and the board in charge of this determined that no discrimination had occurred, the appeal tribunal would need to include members familiar with insurance law, discrimination, and industry standards.
Government officials may appoint members of an appeal tribunal, or they may be hired by a government agency, depending on how the agency is structured. Members can serve terms of varying lengths and may rotate off or around the tribunal periodically. They receive standard compensation for their work and must take care to avoid conflicts of interest like investments in companies that may come before the appeal tribunal. If a conflict of interest does arise, a tribunal member can request reassignment or ask to sit a specific case out to keep it as neutral as possible.
It can be helpful to retain an attorney to help with both initial applications for assistance and appeals. Attorneys are familiar with the law and can provide specific advice and guidance based on legal experience and knowledge of the government agencies involved. Attorneys can also reduce the risk of making a mistake that would hinder an appeal or increase the chances of an initial rejection.