IN THE MATTER OF AN APPLICATION FOR REVIEW OF A DECISION OF THE CHARITY COMMISSION FOR NORTHERN IRELAND TO THE CHARITY TRIBUNAL FOR NORTHERN IRELAND.

Application No. 11/14

BETWEEN

ULSTER SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS (‘USPCA’)

Applicant

and

THE CHARITY COMMISSION FOR NORTHERN IRELAND

Respondent

__________________________________

DECISION NOTICE

__________________________________

1.    On 16.07.2014, the Applicant submitted an application for a Direction staying these proceedings for three calendar months to seek to achieve an agreed resolution of the matters at issue in these proceedings. The application mentioned one specific matter as part of that attempt, namely, the commissioning of an independent report into the governance of the Applicant. The application was distinctly vague and lacking in detail.

2.    While it is unclear from the application, the Applicant presumably sought a stay for three calendar months from 16.07.2014.

3.    The Respondent, while consenting to this application, made no mention of any attempts to achieve an agreed resolution of the matters giving rise to these proceedings. In particular, the Respondent made no mention of the one specific matter raised by the Applicant and whether the outcome of the commissioning of the said governance report had any prospect of resolving the matters giving rise to these proceedings.

4.    A lengthy hearing took place on 30.06.2014 to consider whether the application was late and, if so, whether to extend time. The Tribunal determined that the application was late but that time should be extended. The hearing was preceded by an application of the Appellant to adjourn the hearing. This was refused. The said application for adjournment was renewed at the hearing and was again refused.

5.    The basis of the adjournment application was to facilitate discussions between the parties. It was, and is, clear, however, that, from the outset, from August 2013, there have been ongoing discussions between the parties to seek to resolve the matters at issue leading to these proceedings, to no avail, including the commissioning of a report into the governance of the Applicant, a step that is the only tangible reason advanced by the Applicant for a Direction staying these proceedings. The substantive proceedings are before the Tribunal only on foot of an application brought by the Applicant.

6.    The parties are reminded that it is the role and function of the Tribunal, not that of  the parties, to manage these proceedings.

7.    At the hearing held on 30.06.2014, the Tribunal very deliberately issued no further case management directions at that time save to direct the Respondent to furnish its Response within 28 days.

8.    This application for a stay of these proceedings is refused.

9.    In any event, the application is premature in the absence of the filing of the Response by the Respondent.

Signed:

Damien J. McMahon.   31.07.2014.
President