Franks Report (1957)
The Franks Report of 1957  was issued by a British committee of inquiry chaired by Sir Oliver Franks in respect of growing concerns as to the range and diversity of tribunals, uncertainty about the procedures they followed and worry over lack of cohesion and supervision. The catalyst for this was the Crichel Down Affair. However, this was a result of a decision by the British Government and the Franks committee was told to limit its discussion to formal statutory procedure and not to go into decisions of the courts or one-off decisions, which excluded the Crichel decision.
Basic assumptions of the report
Tribunals are an adjudicating, rather than administrative, body and they should be fair, open and impartial. Openness is for publicity of proceedings and the reasoning behind the decision. Fairness through having a clear procedure, allowing participants to present their case fully and knowledge of requirements to meet for parties. Impartiality established from independence from the real or apparent influence of the administration.
Aims and recommendations
Constitution of tribunals
Procedure of tribunals
The Council of Tribunals should direct the particular procedure in each case, with the aim of combining order with an informal atmosphere. Citizens should have a prior knowledge of the right to apply to participate and public knowledge of the proceedings unless the content is of sensitive nature, with legal representation normally allowed. Tribunals empowered to take evidence under oath, subpoena witnesses and award remedies. Decisions should give full reasons and a copy sent to all parties. Final appellate tribunal to publish its decision for lower tribunals.
Appeals from tribunal decisions
Appeal in the first instance should be to an appellate tribunal, but never to a minister unless the First Instance tribunal is highly competent. Common law remedies of Certiorari (direction to send records), mandamus (mandatory order) and writ of prohibition (abstain a court where it lacks competence) should never be restricted. Also the report recommended that a Councils of Tribunals be formed to perform their respective role as envisaged in the report.
Working and number council of tribunal was mentioned in the schedules, with their function being advisory, but they could make recommendations on any matter and had to be consulted before any rule was enacted.
Right to give reasons was added, but it had to be asked for before or during the decision, and judicial review restricted the right in a few instances. List of tribunals could be stopped by ministerial power.
- Paul Craig Administrative Law, 6th edition
- (The affair of land being leased by the Ministry of Agriculture in the Attlee government instead of it being returned to its original owners as promised by Churchill).
- (Cmnd 218 (1957)).