The importance of planning your CSOS application

By Auren Freitas dos Santos, The Advisory

I am sure that most readers have heard this famous quote by Winston Churchill “He who fails to plan is planning to fail”. I must have heard it at least a thousand times while studying law.

As much as this quote used to irritate me as a law student, I have to admit that it contains a lot of wisdom which has helped me to successfully navigate many challenges in my personal and professional life.

I hope that this article will remind any reader, who may be planning to make an application to the Community Schemes Ombud Service for the resolution of a dispute, of the wisdom of this popular quote.

I have seen so many applications dismissed because the CSOS lacked the necessary jurisdiction to grant the prayers for relief sought by the applicant.  Yes, the CSOS has erroneously declared that it lacked jurisdiction in matters where it most certainly did not, but that is an article for another day.  This article focuses on the instances where people failed to ensure that their applications fell within the ambit of section 39 of the CSOS Act.

Section 39 of the CSOS Act is arguably the most important part of this Act as far as the CSOS dispute resolution process is concerned.  It spells out, in quite some detail, the prayers for relief that an adjudicator may award to an applicant.  It effectively draws the battle lines between which the parties to a dispute may engage with each other. Any applicant who steps outside of these battle lines will be shot down by an adjudicator.

In some cases where an adjudicator dismisses an application the applicant will be left with more than just egg on her face.  An adjudicator may actually order costs against the applicant to compensate the affected person for loss resulting from an application which he or she considers to be misconceived or without substance.

The good news is that you don’t have to have a great legal mind to be successful in the CSOS dispute resolution process.  All that you need to do is listen to Winston Churchill by carefully planning your application to ensure that the relief sought falls within the provisions of section 39 of the CSOS Act.

To make your planning easier we have prepared a user-friendly extract of section 39 of the CSOS Act that you can download here.  Use this as a checklist when planning your application for dispute resolution to ensure that the relief sought falls within the jurisdiction of the CSOS in terms of section 39 of the CSOS Act.

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