On receipt of a complaint (and subsequently if necessary) the Ombudsman must have regard to the following matters:
whether or not the complainant is an eligible complainant; and
whether or not the complaint is one which should be dismissed without consideration of its merits under DISP 3.3(Dismissal of complaints without consideration of the merits).
In the case of relevant new complaints, the Ombudsman will take account of the relevant criteria under the Ombudsman Transitional Order, referred to in DISP 2.2.2 G, and will extend the time limits in DISP 2.3, as required under article 4(2) of the Ombudsman Transitional Order and described in DISP 2.3.2 G.
Where the Ombudsman considers that the complaint or the complainant may be ineligible under the jurisdiction rules (see DISP 2 (Jurisdiction of the Financial Ombudsman Service)) he must give the complainant an opportunity to make representations before he reaches his decision and he must give reasons to the complainant for that decision and inform the firm of his decision.
Where the Ombudsman considers that the complaint may be one which should be dismissed without consideration of its merits, under DISP 3.3 (Dismissal of complaints without consideration of the merits), he must give the complainant an opportunity to make representations before he makes his decision. If he then decides that the complaint should be dismissed, he must give reasons to the complainant for that decision and inform the firm of that decision.
Where the Ombudsman considers that both the complaint and the complainant are eligible and that there is a reasonable prospect of resolving the complaint by mediation, he may attempt to negotiate a settlement between the parties.
The Ombudsman will attempt to resolve complaints at the earliest possible stage and by whatever means appear to him to be most appropriate, including mediation or investigation.
If the Ombudsman decides that an investigation is necessary, he will:
during the investigation, give both parties an opportunity of making representations;
send to the parties a provisional assessment, setting out his reasons and a time limit within which either party must respond; and
The parties will be informed of their right to make representations before the Ombudsman makes a determination. If he considers that the complaint can be fairly determined without convening a hearing, he will determine the complaint. If not, he will invite the parties to attend a hearing. No hearing will be held after the Ombudsman has determined the complaint.
A party who wishes to request a hearing must do so in writing, setting out the issues he wishes to raise and (if appropriate) any reasons why he considers the hearing should be in private, so that the Ombudsman may consider whether the issues are material, whether a hearing should take place and, if so, whether it should be held in public or private.
In deciding if there should be a hearing and, if so, whether it should be in public or private, the Ombudsman will have regard to the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights.