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Investigation Of Complaints: Supplementary Provisions

Volume 98: debated on Wednesday 4 June 1986

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'(1) A building society, as a member of a recognised scheme, shall discharge any obligations and is entitled to enforce any rights imposed or conferred by the scheme or any determination of the adjudicator under the scheme, but nothing in section (Schemes for the investigation of complaints), this section or a scheme requires or authorises a building society to do anything which is outside its powers or otherwise contrary to any provision of this Act or any instrument under it.

(2) Determinations of complaints under recognised schemes shall be made by reference to what is, in the adjudicator's opinion, fair in all circumstances of the case and any direction given to a building society or associated body by an adjudicator may (if the complainant accepts the determination) require it and the complainant to vary any contractual or other obligations or rights subsisting between them.

(3) Subject to subsections (4) and (5) below, a determination of the adjudicator under a recognised scheme which is, by virtue of the complainant's acceptance of it, binding on the building society or associated body shall be final and conclusive and shall not be questioned in any court of law.

(4) Subsection (3) above does not apply where a society or associated body is authorised by the scheme to relieve itself of its obligation to take the steps it is directed to take or pay the compensation awarded by the society's undertaking an obligation to give the requisite publicity for the reasons for not doing so and the society undertakes that obligation.

(5) Where a determination of the adjudicator under a recognised scheme is binding on the building society or associated body, the adjudicator shall, at the request of the society or associated body, state a case for the opinion of the High Court on any question of law and the High Court may direct the adjudicator to reconsider the complaint.

(6) A decision of the High Court under subsection (5) above shall be treated as a judgment of the High Court within the meaning of section 16 of the Supreme Court Act 1981 or section 39 of the Judicature (Northern Ireland) Act 1978 (which relate to the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal to hear and determine appeals from any judgment of the High Court) but no appeal shall lie from the decision of the High Court on any case under subsection (5) above without the leave of the High Court or of the Court of Appeal.

(7) In the application of this section to Scotland—

  • (a) for the references in subsection (5) above to the High Court there shall be substituted references to the Court of Session; and
  • (b) subsection (6) above shall be omitted.
  • (8) If a building society fails to comply with section (Schemes for the investigation of complaints) (3) the society shall be liable on summary conviction—

  • (a) to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale; and
  • (b) in the case of a continuing offence, to an additional fine not exceeding £100 for every day during which the offence continues;
  • and so shall any director of the society who is also guilty of the offence.

    (9) If a building society fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with section (Schemes for the investigation of complaints) (5) the society shall be liable on summary conviction—

  • (a) to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale; and
  • (b) in the case of a continuing offence, to an additional fine not exceeding £100 for every day during which the offence continues;
  • and so shall any director of the society who is also guilty of the offence.

    (10) If a building society fails to comply with section (Schemes for the investigation of complaints) (3) or (5) the Commission may make an application to the High Court for an order directing the society to comply within a specified period with that subsection and the High Court may, if it thinks fit, make an order accordingly.

    (11) In subsection (4) above the reference to an obligation to give the requisite publicity for a building society's or associated body's reasons is a reference to such an obligation undertaken in pursuance of a provision of the scheme authorised by paragraph 6(2) or (3) of Schedule (Schemes for investigation of complaints).'.— [Sir George Young.]

    Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.