Cook Island Appeals Court Reserves Judgment On Superannuation Case

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Decision in next few months for Crown’s appeal of constitutionality

By Emmanuel Samoglou

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, June 16, 2014) – Court of Appeal judges have reserved judgement in the Crown’s appeal of a recent High Court decision regarding the constitutionality of the Cook Islands National Superannuation Fund.

Arguments were heard over four days during last week’s sitting of the Court of Appeal, which was resided by Justice Sir Ian Barker, Justice David Williams and Justice Barry Paterson.

The Crown’s appeal came after a January ruling by Chief Justice Thomas Weston, who declared the legislation governing the superfund as unconstitutional.

CINSF officials have said as the appeal is worked out through the courts, the scheme will temporarily become non-compulsory.

Despite being non-voluntary, the fund is urging employers to continue providing eligible employees with the opportunity to continue making contributions to the scheme in order to be eligible for applicable benefits.

In the event the initial decision declaring the fund act as unconstitutional is reversed, any contributions not made during the current interim period while the case is in the courts will have to be paid.

After Justice Weston’s decision, CINSF Officials said the fund’s voluntary status would continue until the appeal process is concluded.

Those involved in the case said a decision could be delivered within two weeks, or take up to a couple of months.

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