Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2008] All ER (D) 137 (Jun)
Neutral Citation: [2008] EWCA Civ 643
Court: Court of Appeal, Civil Division
Judge:

Laws, Rix and Stanley Burnton LJJ

Representation Charles Flint QC and Sarah McCann (instructed by the Financial Ombudsman Service) for the ombudsman.
  Anthony Speaight QC and Kate Livesey (directly instructed) for the company.
Judgment Dates: 11 June 2008

Catchwords

Financial Services - Financial Services Authority (FSA) - Regulation of financial services - Ombudsman scheme - Complaints against financial companies - Provision in scheme requiring payment of fee by financial company even when complaint dismissed - Whether power to dismiss complaint summarily may be delegated by ombudsman to designated member of staff - Whether scheme unreasonable - Whether imposition of fee against successful company unreasonable and unlawful - s 234.

The Case

In holding that the financial services ombudsman had been entitled to levy the standard fee against a financial company notwithstanding that the complaints against the company had been dismissed, the court ruled, inter alia, that the present fee scheme operated by the ombudsman was one of the possible and rational responses to the need to finance the ombudsman service and therefore the imposition of fees was not unfair or unreasonable. The ombudsman was required to consider whether a complaint should be summarily dismissed. A detailed consideration was not necessary. Moreover, it was possible to delegate the exercise of the power of summary dismissal to designated members of the staff of the ombudsman. The company's liability for the case fees was not conditional on summary dismissal having been considered by the ombudsman.

Practice Areas

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