A review and/or appeals process has been included in the Act to ensure fair and equitable consideration by an independent party should disputes arise.
A community transfer body can seek a review or appeal if:
- the request is refused,
- the request is agreed, but the terms and conditions in the decision notice are significantly different from those in the request, or
- no decision notice is issued within the required period.
The process depends on which relevant authority the request was made to.
- If the request was made to a local authority, the community transfer body can apply for an internal review by the authority, as set out in section 86 of the Act. This may also apply in future to requests made to other relevant authorities that are designated by the Scottish Ministers, for example if they are bodies closely related to local authorities. If the outcome of the review does not resolve the issue, or if no decision is made within the required period, the community transfer body can then appeal to the Scottish Ministers under section 88.
- If the request is made to the Scottish Ministers, the community transfer body can apply for a review by the Scottish Ministers under section 87.
- If the request is made to any other relevant authority, the community transfer body can appeal to the Scottish Ministers under section 85 of the Act.
Section 91 of the Act provides that a community transfer body cannot seek a review or appeal in relation to the terms and conditions in the decision notice if it has already made an offer, unless it first withdraws that offer. If the community transfer body makes an offer after submitting an appeal or application for review, the appeal or review is treated as having been withdrawn.
A community transfer body can also appeal to the Scottish Ministers if a request is agreed, but no contract is concluded within the required time limit.
In all cases the final decision lies with the Scottish Ministers. There is no further route of appeal beyond them (except by judicial review).