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Guidance Note on the Procedures for Appeals from Determinations of the Pensions Ombudsman

Ref: PO G.03.06

Rules of Court are made to regulate practice and procedure in the Courts and set out the process which must be gone through for various applications being made to the different Courts. Initially, no Rules of Court existed to regulate practice and procedure in relation to an Appeal from a Final Determination made by the Pensions Ombudsman under Section 139 of the Pensions Act, 1990 (as amended).

Consequently, appeals had to be initiated by way of Special Summons.

However, Statutory Instrument No 14 of 2007, Rules of the Superior Courts (Statutory Applications and Appeals) 2007 contains new Rules of Court for appeals from the decisions of Statutory Tribunals, which would include the Office of the Pensions Ombudsman.

The SI amends the Rules of the Superior courts by inserting two new orders, Order 84B, Procedure in Statutory Applications, and Order 84C, Procedure in Statutory Appeals. The first does not concern us, as enforcement of Determinations by this Office is through the Circuit Court, not the High Court.

However, Order 84C does affect appeals from Determinations of the Pensions Ombudsman.

The Order provides that the appeal shall be commenced by way of originating notice of motion, which "shall be entitled in the matter of the provision of the enactment pursuant to which the appeal is made. The notice of motion shall name the person making the appeal as appellant and any person who the relevant enactment provides shall be a respondent to the appeal shall be named as a respondent." The notice of motion should contain the names and addresses of the appellant and of each respondent and specify the relief sought, and the particular provision or provisions of the relevant enactment authorising the granting of such relief.

Subject to any provision to the contrary in the relevant enactment*, the notice of motion shall be issued
(a) not later than twenty-one days following the giving by the deciding body to the intending appellant of notice of the deciding body's decision, or
(b) within such further period as the Court, on application made to it by the intending appellant, may allow where the Court is satisfied that there is good and sufficient reason for extending that period and that the extension of the period would not result in an injustice being done to any other person concerned in the matter.

The Order goes on to specify what should be contained in or exhibited with the affidavit grounding the motion, and other provisions concerning the conduct of an appeal.

Please note that the new Rules do not invalidate any appeal proceedings begun before they were made ( 16 th January, 2007 ) and. unless the Court in those proceedings decides otherwise, they should continue and be completed as if the new Rules had not been made.
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*The Pensions Act specifies 21 days.