January 25, 2011
You're entitled to a fair hearing
The “natural justice” referred to in today’s story can be a tricky thing to sort out. It basically means you should get a fair hearing in court. In this case, Neel Chokker asked for an adjournment because he was confused and wanted time to sort things out.
The concept of natural justice is applied in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. It takes into account several guidelines, but here are the ones that appear most relevant to Chokker’s case:
• Proceedings should be conducted so they are fair to all the parties — expressed in the Latin maxim audi alteram partem: “let the other side be heard.”
• Each party to a proceeding is entitled to ask questions and contradict the evidence of the opposing party.
These are taken for Wikipedia: you can find more here.
A case from 1999 backs this up. An illegal immigrant was ordered deported, but she wanted to apply for permanent residence. At first she was denied, but the Supreme Court of Canada decided that, to be fair, the government should take into consideration the rights of her children, who were born in Canada. In other words, her side of the story had to be heard.