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OFT Test Case

Update 10 July 2008 – further delays

On 24 April, Justice Smith handed down his decision in the OFT/Banks test case (see result). However, he reserved certain matters for further consideration such as historical terms, and he gave the OFT and the banks one month to decide whether or not they would appeal his decision.

On 22/23 May, there was a further hearing at which the following was decided:

The banks will appeal his decision that their current terms are subject to the test of fairness – essentially this gives them several more months at least before the decision is ratified. Meanwhile, all those claims in the system are likely to remain on hold.

A further hearing was held on 7-9 July. At this hearing, submissions were made by the OFT and by the banks regarding the historical terms, i.e. those terms which mainly affect all the claims on hold in the court system. The questions considered were: whether the same test of fairness applies to them as to the new terms; and whether or not the historical terms could be penalties under common law.

Judgment has been reserved which means that we will have to wait again for the decisions. The judge has indicated that it should be quicker than for the last judgment. So we might hear in 4-8 weeks.

Meanwhile, the banks still have an appeal in the system against the earlier ruling. It is thought that this appeal might be heard in October or thereabouts. No doubt, if the banks lose on the points in this latest matter, they will appeal that as well.

The OFT has still not finished its study into the fairness of charges.

Overall, the whole matter is, as expected, a complete dog's dinner. There is no doubt that the intention of the OFT and the banks is to drag everything out as long as possible, make all the various decisions as confusing as possible for the lay person and to ensure that the media get bored by it all.

See previous posting of 23 May.

BBC website report on hearing at BBC 9 July

For background to test case, see test case

For other news stories, see news

Published and promoted by Bob Egerton, TR2 4RS