Outcomes - Selected Case Summaries



Confusion over appeals hearing

Investigation | 30 September 2022
Planning Appeals Tribunal

The Office of the Ombudsman received a complaint stating that an appeal application before the Planning Appeals Tribunal (PAT) remained undecided for more than 11 months and that that appellant received no information or updates as to when the appeal hearing would take place. He complained to our office concerning unreasonable delay in the PAT hearing the matter.

Our office opened an investigation following unsuccessful efforts to resolve the complaint and found that resulting delays in this case occurred due to confusion within the PAT and the Ministry of Planning (“the Ministry”) as to what appellate body should hear the appeal.

While these delays went on, the complainant – who was awaiting a professional operating licence – saw two employment opportunities fall away.

Meanwhile, the appeals case had still never been heard. In addition to the delay, the investigation found that the Ministry has a current policy on how to appeal decisions of the Central Planning Authority (CPA) to the PAT, but no guidance in respect to professional licences governed by other appointed bodies that might be appealed to the PAT.

The Ombudsman found maladministration in both the delay in hearing the appeal and in the lack of process and/or policies in addressing such a situation.

Several recommendations were made to the Ministry as a result of this investigation, including:

  • The pending appeal before the PAT should be heard within 30 calendar days
  • That the PAT and/or the Ministry update policies regarding appeals
  • That support is given to amending the Electricity Act to clarify the appeals process
  • That the PAT or Ministry provide a written apology to the complainant for the delays