Where an administrative body is required to deliver a copy of the record on the basis of which the administrator made or didn’t make a decision, it is of no concern that the documents sought are voluminous and the requested list is extensive. If the documents are properly identified as documents relevant to the decision-making process of the administrative body, they must be produced.
Compliance with the requirements for an administrative body to deliver documents under High Court Rule 53 is not just a procedural process. It is a substantive requirement which serves to ensure that the substance of the decision is properly put to the fore at an early stage. The courts treat with displeasure any attempt to frustrate this process. Every scrap of paper that can throw light on the decision-making process is relevant and needs to be produced. The Council for Medical Schemes was ordered to provide the documents requested within 10 days.
The challenge relates to decisions of the CMS regarding low cost benefit options for medical schemes. The Council initially provided documents sourced from its website which were already accessible to everyone.
Board of Healthcare Funders NPC v Council for Medical Schemes, the Registrar of Medical & The Minister of Health, High Court of South Africa, Gauteng Division, Pretoria, case number 12058/2022 (10 July 2023)