Frequently Asked Question
- What is the range of services offered by the Office of Ombudsman?
In short, the Ombudsman seeks to resolve differences between participants arising under the operation of the IATA-FIATA Air Cargo Program (‘IFACP’). The IFACP Governance Handbook, Section 3 and the IFACP Handbook, Section 4 set out the powers and duties of the Ombudsman.
- What do I have to pay for the services of the Ombudsman?
As the Office of Ombudsman is funded jointly by the Airlines and Endorsed Forwarders through a periodic levy, additional charges, arising from conducting a review are made only for good cause.
- Are the services of a lawyer necessary when seeking or undergoing an Ombudsman review?
Whereas the option, whether or not to retain counsel, is open to a party, it is so that the Ombudsman’s procedures (viz Rules of Practice & Procedure) are in plain language and aim to be simple and layman-friendly. Review proceedings are as informal as the parties will permit. The aim of the process is to secure a fair, expeditious and informal settlement of each dispute, at minimal cost to the parties.
- How long does an Ombudsman review last?
A typical review may be completed within a few weeks, bearing in mind that most of the matters that come before the Ombudsman are time sensitive.
In practice, most reviews are conducted on the documents submitted by the parties. Teleconferences usually suffice to fill any information gaps. Face-to-face hearings are occasionally conducted where that is the preference of the parties.
- Does a Forwarder’s appeal against an IFACP decision concerning its registered status cause that decision to be stayed pending the outcome of the review?
Subject to certain precautionary measures being taken, typically where the review is conducted, interlocutory relief can be granted to a Forwarder to enable it to continue conducting its business.
- Am I permitted to put questions to the Ombudsman?
It is not within the Ombudsman’s remit to provide ad hoc guidance to individual Forwarders or to Airlines. He does, however, respond to inquiries concerning procedure followed by his Office.
- Are the Ombudsman’s decisions published?
Each review conducted gives rise to a written Decision which is published to the parties alone, unless they agree to wider publication. The Ombudsman does, however, make an annual report in writing to the IATA-FIATA Governing Board in which, without identifying Forwarders, he identifies key issues which have arisen and advances recommendations, if deemed appropriate.
- What is the best way of contacting the Ombudsman?
Email is the best way of establishing initial contact with the Ombudsman (viz Contacts for particulars).
- What remedy is available to me if I am aggrieved by the Ombudsman’s Decision concerning my business?
The provisions of Section 4 of the Governance Handbook foresee appeal to arbitration under the rules of the ICC Court of Arbitration as a remedy for a party so aggrieved. Details of how the procedure is initiated are given in Section 6 of the IFACP Handbook.
- Does the Cargo Agency Commissioner have a role in the IFACP?
No. The Ombudsman is charged with disputes arising from the operation of the IFACP, whereas the Cargo Agency Commissioner is charged with the task of reviewing disagreements involving an IFACP Forwarder stemming from the forwarder’s CASS participation.