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Financial Ombudsman Service in United Kingdom

Online Dispute Resolution in the Financial Ombudsman Service

The UK Financial Ombudsman Service was established by statute in 2000 as the mandatory ADR body in the financial services sector. Its function is to resolve disputes between consumers and UK-based financial businesses quickly and with minimum formality. Its casework process is designed around the principle that a dispute is usually best resolved at the earliest possible stage and that most problems can be resolved without needing a formal determination by an ombudsman. Businesses covered by the ombudsman have the opportunity to resolve disputes before the service becomes involved, but they must resolve complaints promptly – and always in fewer than eight weeks. Once a complaint is referred to the service, its process is geared towards early and informal resolution. Its case-handlers (‘adjudicators’) attempt to facilitate an amicable resolution to the dispute between the two parties, usually resulting in adjudicators writing to parties with their view on what the fair and reasonable outcome should be. If both parties agree (which typically happens in around 90% of cases), the dispute is resolved.

But either party may disagree and ask for the case to be referred to an ombudsman for final, binding, determination. The service has trialled new ways of working that will allow some disputes to be settled even more informally and quickly – that is, in hours and days. An ombudsman’s determinations can be accepted or rejected by a consumer, but if a consumer accepts the decision then it is binding. These decisions are not appealable, but are subject to judicial review. In 2013/14, the Financial Ombudsman Service resolved 518,778 disputes, of which 487,749 were resolved by adjudicators and 31,029 by ombudsmen. The service is a ‘distance’ service, so that each year there are usually less than 20 face-to-face meetings with adjudicators or ombudsmen. The average cost per case for 2014/2015 is expected to be £567.

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See Also

Online Dispute Resolution in the World legal Encyclopedia
Dispute Resolution
Financial Services
Financial Institutions
Money Laundering Financial Crime



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(2015, 07). Financial Ombudsman Service lawi.org.uk Retrieved 10, 2021, from https://lawi.org.uk/financial-ombudsman-service/

07 2015. 10 2021 <https://lawi.org.uk/financial-ombudsman-service/>

"Financial Ombudsman Service" lawi.org.uk. lawi.org.uk, 07 2015. Web. 10 2021. <https://lawi.org.uk/financial-ombudsman-service/>

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International, 'Financial Ombudsman Service' (lawi.org.uk 2015) <https://lawi.org.uk/financial-ombudsman-service/> accesed 2021 October 27

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  • Article Name: Financial Ombudsman Service
  • Author: International
  • Description: Online Dispute Resolution in the Financial Ombudsman Service The UK Financial Ombudsman Service was established by statute [...]

This entry was last updated: July 29, 2015



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