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Public Services Ombudsman (Wales) Act 2019

Changes over time for: Section 21

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Prospective

21Obstruction and contempt: costs recoveryE+W

This section has no associated Explanatory Notes

(1)This section applies where—

(a)the Ombudsman investigates a health-related service as part of an investigation in respect of a relevant listed authority under section 16(2), and

(b)the Ombudsman is satisfied that the condition in subsection (2) is met.

(2)The condition is that the provider of the health-related service (“the provider”)—

(a)without lawful excuse, has obstructed the discharge of any of the Ombudsman's functions under this Part, or

(b)has done an act in relation to the investigation which, if the investigation were proceedings in the High Court, would constitute contempt of court.

(3)The condition in subsection (2) is not met in relation to a provider merely because the provider has taken action of the kind mentioned in section 18(14)(b).

(4)The Ombudsman may serve a notice (a “costs recovery notice”) on the provider requiring the provider to pay the Ombudsman costs incurred by the Ombudsman as a result of the obstruction or act mentioned in subsection (2).

(5)The costs referred to in subsection (4) may include (but are not limited to) the costs of obtaining expert advice (including legal advice).

(6)A costs recovery notice must—

(a)set out the basis on which the notice is issued, including details of the obstruction or act which, in the opinion of the Ombudsman, meets the condition in subsection⁠ (2),

(b)specify the amount that must be paid to the Ombudsman, together with a detailed breakdown of the amount,

(c)specify—

(i)the date by which payment must be made, and

(ii)how payment may be made, and

(d)explain the right of appeal in subsection (9).

(7)The payment date specified under subsection (6)(c) must be at least 28 days later than the date on which the costs recovery notice is served on the provider.

(8)The provider must pay the Ombudsman the amount specified in the costs recovery notice by the date specified in that notice (but this is subject to the remaining provisions of this section).

(9)The provider may appeal to the magistrates' court against a costs recovery notice within 21 days beginning with the date on which the notice is served on the provider; and where the provider does so, subsection (8) does not apply (but see subsections (15) and (16)).

(10)An appeal is to be by way of a complaint for an order that the notice be quashed or varied, and in accordance with the Magistrates' Court Act 1980 (c.43).

(11)For the purpose of the time limit for making an appeal, the making of a complaint is to be treated as the making of an appeal.

(12)The grounds for appeal are that the Ombudsman‘s decision to issue the costs recovery notice was—

(a)based on an error of fact,

(b)wrong in law, or

(c)unreasonable for any reason.

(13)On appeal, the magistrates' court may—

(a)confirm, quash or vary the costs recovery notice, and

(b)make such order as to costs as it thinks fit.

(14)Where, on appeal, the magistrates' court quashes or varies the costs recovery notice, it may order the Ombudsman to compensate the provider for loss suffered as a result of the service of the notice.

(15)Where, on appeal, the magistrates' court confirms the costs recovery notice (with or without variation), the provider must pay the amount payable by virtue of the notice within 28 days beginning with the date on which the appeal is finally determined.

(16)Where an appeal made under this section is withdrawn, the provider must pay the amount specified in the costs recovery notice within 28 days beginning with the date on which the appeal is withdrawn.

(17)An amount payable under this section is recoverable summarily as a civil debt.

(18)In this section, “health-related service” has the same meaning as in section 16.

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