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Commencement Orders bringing legislation that affects this Act into force:
(1)Subject to subsections (2), [F1(2A),](4) and (5) of this section, every dispute between a registered society or an officer thereof and—
(a)a member of the society; or
(b)any person aggrieved who has ceased to be a member of the society not more than six months previously; or
(c)any person claiming through a member of the society or any such person aggrieved; or
(d)any person claiming under the rules of the society,
shall, if the society’s rules give directions as to the manner in which such disputes are to be decided, be decided in that manner.
[F2(1A)Nothing in subsection (1) above or in rules of a kind mentioned in that subsection prevents any person, in accordance with the scheme for which Part XVI of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 provides (the ombudsman scheme), from having a complaint dealt with under such a scheme before, or instead of, determination in the manner directed in the rules.]
[F3(2)The county court or, in Scotland, the sheriff may determine a dispute in a registered society if—
(a)both parties to the dispute consent; or
(b)the rules of the society concerned contain no directions as to disputes.]
[F4(2A)If the rules contain directions by virtue of which a dispute would fall to be determined by the Authority, the dispute shall instead be referred to the county court or, in Scotland, to the sheriff for determination.]
(3)A decision made under subsection (1) or (2) of this section on any dispute shall be binding and conclusive on all parties without appeal; and—
(a)the decision shall not be removable into any court of law or restrainable by injunction; and
(b)application for the enforcement of the decision may be made to the county court.
(4)Subject to subsection (5) of this section, any dispute directed by the rules of a registered society to be referred to justices shall be determined by a magistrates’ court.
(5)Where, whether by virtue of subsection (4) of this section or otherwise, a dispute is congnisable under the rules of a registered society by a magistrates’ court, the parties to the dispute may by agreement refer the dispute to the county court, who may hear and determine it.
(6)Where the rules of a registered society contain no direction as to disputes, or where no decision is made on a dispute within forty days after application to the society for a reference under its rules, any person such as is mentioned in subsection (1)(a) to (d) of this section who is a party to the dispute may apply either to the county court or to a magistrates’ court, who may hear and determine the matter in dispute.
(7)In the application of the foregoing provisions of this section to Scotland—
(a)in subsection (3), paragraph (a) shall be omitted and in paragraph (b) for the words “county court” there shall be substituted the word “sheriff”;
(b)subsections (4) to (6) shall not apply, but in Scotland—
(i)any dispute directed by the rules of a registered society to be referred to justices, a justice of the peace court, or a court of summary jurisdiction, shall be determined by the sheriff;
(ii)where the rules of a registered society contain no direction as to disputes, or where no decision is made on a dispute within forty days after application to the society for a reference under its rules, any person such as is mentioned in subsection (1)(a) to (d) of this section who is a party to the dispute may apply to the sheriff, who may hear and determine the matter in dispute.
(8)For the purposes of the hearing or determination of a dispute under this section—
[F5(a)a county court or, in Scotland, the sheriff shall have power to order the expenses of determining the dispute to be paid either out of the funds of the society or by such parties to the dispute as it thinks fit;]
(b)in England and Wales, a magistrates’ court may grant to either party such discovery as to documents and otherwise, or such inspection of documents, being, in the case of discovery to be made on behalf of the society, discovery by such officer of the society as the court may determine, as [F6the court considers necessary for the just and expeditious disposal of the dispute];
F7(c). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
[F8(9)The court [F9to which]any dispute is referred under subsections (2) to (7) may at the request of either party state a case on any question of law arising in the dispute for the opinion of the High Court or, as the case may be, the Court of Session.]
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