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Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, 2000 (Act No. 4 of 2000)

Chapter 4 : Equality Courts

20. Institution of proceedings in terms of or under Act

 

1) Proceedings under this Act may be instituted by-
a) any person acting in their own interest;
b) any person acting on behalf of another person who cannot act in their own name;
c) any person acting as a member of, or in the interests of, a group or class of persons;
d) any person acting in the public interest;
e) any association acting in the interests of its members;

 

2) A person wishing to institute proceedings in terms of or under this Act must, in the prescribed manner, notify the clerk of the equality court of their intention to do so.

 

3)
a) The clerk of the equality court must, within the prescribed period of receiving such notification, refer the matter to a presiding officer of the equality court in question, who must, within the prescribed period, decide whether the matter is to be heard in the equality court or whether it should be referred to another appropriate institution, body, court, tribunal or other forum (hereafter referred to as an alternative forum) which, in the presiding officer’s opinion, can deal more appropriately with the matter in terms of that alternative forum’s powers and functions.
b) If the presiding officer decides that the matter is to be heard in the equality court, the presiding officer must refer the matter to the clerk of the equality court who must within the prescribed period of such referral assign a date of hearing of the matter.

 

4) The presiding officer, before making a decision to refer a matter as contemplated in subsection (3), must take all relevant circumstances into account, including the following:
a) The personal circumstances of the parties and particularly the complainant;
b) the physical accessibility of any contemplated alternative forum;
c) the needs and wishes of the parties and particularly the complainant;
d) the nature of the intended proceedings and whether the outcome of the proceedings could facilitate the development of judicial precedent and jurisprudence in this area of the law;
e) the views of the appropriate functionary at any contemplated alternative forum.

 

5)
a) If the presiding officer decides that the matter must be referred to an alternative forum he or she must, in the prescribed manner, make an order, directing the clerk of the equality court to transfer the matter to the alternative forum mentioned in the order,
b) When making an order contemplated in paragraph (a), the presiding officer may attach to the order any comments he or she deems necessary for the attention of the alternative forum.

 

6) On receipt of an order referred to in subsection (5), the clerk of the equality court must transfer the matter and notify the parties to the matter of the transfer in the prescribed manner.

 

7) On receipt of a matter transferred to it, the alternative forum in question must deal with the matter expeditiously in terms of its powers and functions.

 

8) If the alternative forum referred to in subsection (7)-
a) fails to deal with the matter within a reasonable period in the circumstances; or
b) is not able to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of one or both the parties and one or both parties so request,
c) the alternative forum must, in the prescribed manner, refer the matter back to the equality court from which it was transferred, for adjudication, within the prescribed period from the date on which it was returned to the equality court.

 

9) The State and constitutional institutions must, as far as reasonably possible, assist any person wishing to institute proceedings in terms of or under this Act, amongst others, by ensuring that the person is directed to the appropriate functionary in order to take the necessary action in the furtherance of the matter in question.