The Court of Appeal has dismissed Shelly Maxwell's appeal against a decision of the High Court that the Office of the Independent Adjudicator ("OIA") is not obliged to make findings on whether a University has committed unlawful disability discrimination. Readers are referred to our August 2010 briefing for an account of the facts in this case and the High Court's decision.
In a judgment handed down on 27 October 2011, the Court of Appeal emphasised that the OIA is not a substitute for civil proceedings in the ordinary courts. The OIA is an informal, affordable, alternative means of dispute resolution and does not employ the same rigorous, adversarial procedures as a court does. Accordingly, the OIA is ill equipped to make authoritative findings on points of law. The Court warned against the "judicialisation" of the OIA, which would be contrary to the interests of students in general.