What constitutes “unreasonable delays” in finalising court cases that led to the withholding of members' retirement benefits?
This paper discusses the approaches of both the High Court and the Office of the Pension Funds Adjudicator regarding delays that generally occur in the finalisation of court cases instituted by employers against their employees who are retirement-fund members. Particularly when such employees are alleged to have caused their employers’ economic loss and employers wish to be compensated from their retirement benefits. This paper demonstrates that, while the concept of “unreasonable delay” is relied upon to determine whether retirement funds should release retirement benefits to their members pending the finalisation of employers’ cases against them, both the courts and the adjudicator are yet to develop a workable test that can adequately guide them when
deciding such disputes. This has also exposed retirement funds to continuous litigation regarding decisions that they take, in order to withhold their members’ retirement benefits. This paper argues that there is a need for the judicial development of a test that can guide both the dispute-resolution institutions and boards of retirement funds on how employers’ requests for the withholding of retirement funds’ members’ benefits based on court
cases instituted by employers should be addressed. Particularly, when there are delays in the finalisation of such court cases.
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