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

Chapter 4 : Equality Courts

22. Assessors

 

1) In any proceedings in terms of or under this Act, the court may, at the request of either party, or of its own accord if the presiding officer considers it to be in the interests of justice, summon to its assistance one or two persons who are suitable and available and who may be willing to sit and act as assessors.

 

2) Assessors appointed in terms of subsection (1) are, subject to subsection (3), deemed to be members of the court for purposes of this Act.

 

3) Any matter of law arising for decision at the proceedings concerned and any question as to whether a matter for decision is a matter of fact or a matter of law must be decided by the presiding officer in the prescribed manner.

 

4) On all matters of fact the finding or decision of the majority of the members of the court is the finding or decision of the court, and in the event of one assessor, the finding or decision of the court prevails.

 

5)
a) If an assessor dies, or in the opinion of the presiding officer becomes unable to act as an assessor, or is for any reason absent, or has been ordered to recuse himself or herself or has recused himself or herself, at any stage before the completion of the proceedings concerned, the presiding officer may, in the interests of justice and after due consideration of the arguments put forward by the parties to the proceedings or their legal representatives-
i) direct that the proceedings continue before the remaining member or members of the court;
ii) direct that the proceedings start afresh; or
iii) if an assessor is absent, postpone the proceedings in order to obtain the assessor’s presence.
b) The presiding officer must give reasons for any direction referred to in subparagraph (i) or (ii).

 

6)
a) A presiding officer who is assisted by assessors at an enquiry where a party to the proceedings has an order made against him or her must record the reasons for his or her opinion-
i) if that party to the proceedings is not assisted by a legal representative; and
ii) if the presiding officer is of the opinion that the assessors concerned have clearly made an incorrect finding.
b) The clerk of the equality court must as soon as is practicable, submit those reasons and the record to the appeal court in question for review in the prescribed manner.
c) The appeal court has the power to confirm the said findings or to make any appropriate order in respect of such finding that, in the opinion of the appeal court, should have been made in the circumstances.