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The administration of justice, even at the trial level, has always been a difficult task; this is especially true of administrative justice.
There are several reasons for this situation. First, the administrative body whose decisions are challenged certainly renders a very large number of decisions, although these decisions are made by officials who are generally competent and have a sense of duty to the government and the public service. Thus, it is not always easy to show that they have erred in law or in fact. Second, the Act and the Regulations are complex and often use technical language and vocabulary that is not very familiar to the litigants. Third, no matter how relaxed the judicial or quasi-judicial process may be, it is nevertheless enshrouded in principles and rules that are foreign to the experience of everyday life.
The mission of an administrative trier of fact is demanding. It is not sufficient merely to listen passively to the parties make their arguments and to decide for one side or the other on the basis of a momentary whim and to satisfy one's conscience in this way. A judge or arbitrator must first be fully familiar with the Act, the Regulations and even the case law relating to his or her specialized jurisdiction. He or she must know the principles and rules of procedure and evidence to be applied during the hearing. After listening attentively and impartially to the arguments and evidence of the parties, the judge or arbitrator must consider everything and render a decision for which factual and legal reasons are given. In doing so, he or she must be aware that the decision could be appealed by the unsuccessful party if that party has a feeling or an impression that justice has not been done.
It is not sufficient to be well intentioned, oblivious to human suffering, to be a good judge or arbitrator. It is necessary to know one's job and to be well trained. The ancients used to say Nascuntur poetae, fiunt orates [poets are born but orators are made]. Similarly, judges are not born... they are made! We hope that all those who strive to do justice as humanely as possible, as well as litigants and their representatives, will find this little study useful.