Judicial Review of Universities - The Visitor and the visited
The University visitor is a truly remarkable figure in English law. Described by one writer a "redolent of monarchical paternalism in an isolated unworldly community of scholars" this once remote figure has become prominent again because of judicial decisions and academic writings which have been mostly descriptive rather than critical of his allegedly exclusive jurisdiction in University disputes. Now the visitor is about to exercise his jurisdiction in a New Zealand university (apparently for the first time) and a critical examination of the visitor's potentially far-reaching powers in the local context is clearly needed. For although the caselaw on the visitor is mostly both dusty and clouded one clear point to emerge from the case is that the courts feel jurisdictionally barred from reviewing any matter which they consider to be within the purview of the visitor. Thus if, as some university officials believe. . . ."the visitor has almost whatever powers he chooses to exercise" the courts would indeed be emasculated. Fortunately the cases do not go that far.