The Equal Opportunity Act 2000 created two organizations the EOC and EOT. In essence the EOC is set up as an administrative body with investigatory powers to be used in the investigations of complaints filed by persons. The EOT on the other hand is strictly a judicial body. However before a matter can be filed with the EOT it must have been investigated by the EOC. In fact only the EOC with the consent of the complainant can file a claim before the EOT.
Once filed and lodged with the registry of the EOT the matter becomes a Tribunal matter and subject to the relevant court procedures as apply in the High Court of Justice.
An appeal lies from the Tribunal to the Court of Appeal, whether as of right or with leave, on grounds specified in section 50(2) of the Act, but subject to that the orders, awards, findings or decisions of the Tribunal in any matter may not be challenged, appealed against, reviewed, quashed or called in question on any account whatever and the Tribunal may not be subject to prohibition, mandamus or injunction in any tribunal on any account whatever (s. 50(1)).
Decisions of the Tribunal in any proceedings are to be made and delivered by the chairman (s. 44(7) and the lay assessors are to assist the chairman in arriving at a decision. (s. 42(4)). The jurisdiction and powers of the Tribunal are exercisable by the chairman and at least one lay assessor (s. 44(1)). The Tribunal may (subject to the approval of the President of the Republic) make rules to govern the procedure and practice of the Tribunal, including costs (s. 44(8)).
The Tribunal being a superior court of record also has the power to fine a contemnor or commit him to prison for contempt. In the case of a superior court of record at least this power exists even where the contempt is not committed in the face of the court: R v West Yorkshire Coroner, Ex p Smith. The Tribunal has jurisdiction to hear and determine complaints referred to it by the Commission, to require persons to attend for the purpose of giving evidence and producing documents and to make sure declarations, orders and awards of compensation as it thinks fit (s. 41 (4)). A summons signed by the Registrar for enforcing the attendance of a witness or the production of documents has the same effect as formal process issued in the High Court (ss. 44(5), 45(3)).
The Tribunal has the same powers, rights and privileges as are vested in the High Court in relation to the attendance and examination of witnesses, the production and inspection of documents, the enforcement of its orders, “the entry on inspection of the property” (sic) and other matters necessary or proper for the exercise of its jurisdiction (s. 45(1)). Provision is made in section 48 for the recovery and enforcement of compensation and damages awarded by the Tribunal on the filing of a certificate of the Registrar as civil debts or as if they were High Court judgments. Fines are recoverable by the Registrar of the Tribunal, whose certificate is conclusive, and are paid into the Consolidated Fund (s. 48(2), (6)).