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Tribunal

Tribunal is a generic term for any body acting judicially, whether or not it is called a tribunal in its title. For example, an advocate appearing before a Court on which a single Judge was sitting could describe that judge as 'their tribunal'.

In the Roman Catholic Church, a tribunal usually refers to literally one of three instances of ecclesiastical courts: (1) a diocesan tribunal (2) a provincial tribunal, that is, of more than one diocese and commonly referred to as an appellate court (3) the Sacra Rota Romana, or Sacred Roman Rota, the highest court of appeals.

Many bodies that are titled 'tribunals' are so described to emphasize the fact that they are not courts of normal jurisdiction. For example the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda is a body specially constituted under international law; in Great Britain, Employment Tribunals are bodies set up to hear specific employment disputes. Private judicial bodies are also often styled 'tribunals'. The word 'tribunal' is not conclusive of a body's function. For example, in Great Britain, the Employment Appeal Tribunal is a superior court of record.

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