Insurers and consumers are now entitled to appeal against final rulings by the ST Ombud. This applies to complaints received on or after 1 December 2013.
Any party affected by any formal ruling or finding on the part of the Ombudsman may appeal against the ruling or finding of the Ombudsman, either in part or in whole. In this context a “Ruling” shall mean, in relation to a complaint received, “a written directive issued by the Ombudsman which is binding on the insurer and which is based either in law or equity and fairness or a combination of law and equity”. “Finding” shall mean, with respect to a complaint, “a written directive issued by the Ombudsman in relation to the complaint received in terms of which the Ombudsman has dismissed the complaint or declined to intervene in a dispute between the complainant and insurer”.
No appeal against the ruling or finding of the Ombudsman shall be considered by any Appeal Tribunal, unless the Ombudsman shall have granted the applicant leave to appeal against such ruling or finding.
The Appeal Tribunal consists of some real heavyweights in legal circles:
The Honourable Mr. Justice Sandile Ngcobo, former Chief Justice, the Honourable Mr. Justice P Nienaber and the Honourable Mr. Justice T Cloete, both former judges of the Supreme Court of Appeal.
The grounds for granting consent to appeal are clearly stipulated in the “Appeal Mechanism” document, published on the Ombud’s website.
Notice of any intention to appeal against any ruling or finding of the Ombudsman shall be filed with the Ombudsman within a period of 30 calendar days of the handing down of any ruling or finding and shall state whether the appellant appeals against the whole or part of the ruling or finding of the Ombudsman, the findings of fact and/or ruling of law appealed against and the grounds upon which the appeal is founded. The notice of intention to appeal shall be accompanied by an application for leave to appeal.
Parties may be represented at the appeal hearing at their own cost. The Ombud retains the discretion to call upon a consumer, as appellant, to pay a deposit which shall be refunded, but only if the appeal is successful.
No cost awards can be made against the unsuccessful party.
Please click here to download the Appeal Mechanism document.