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DISP 3.5 Resolution of complaints by the Ombudsman


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.15


The Ombudsman may inform the complainant that it might be appropriate to complain against some other respondent.15


Where two or more complaints from one complainant relate to connected circumstances, the Ombudsman may investigate them together, but will issue separate provisional assessments and determinations in respect of each respondent.15


If the Ombudsman decides that an investigation is necessary, he will then:

  1. (1)

    ensure both parties have been given an opportunity of making representations;

  2. (2)

    send both parties a provisional assessment, setting out his reasons and a time limit within which either party must respond; and

  3. (3)

    if either party indicates disagreement with the provisional assessment within that time limit, proceed to determination.15



If the Ombudsman 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 take part in a hearing. A hearing may be held by any means which the Ombudsman considers appropriate in the circumstances, including by telephone. No hearing will be held after the Ombudsman has determined the complaint.15


A party who wishes to request a hearing must do so in writing, setting out:

  1. (1)

    the issues he wishes to raise; and

  2. (2)

    (if appropriate) any reasons why he considers the hearing should be in private;

so that the Ombudsman may consider whether:

  1. (3)

    the issues are material;

  2. (4)

    a hearing should take place; and

  3. (5)

    any hearing should be held in public or private.15


15In deciding whether 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.



15The Ombudsman may give directions as to:

  1. (1)

    the issues on which evidence is required;

  2. (2)

    the extent to which evidence should be oral or written; and

  3. (3)

    the way in which evidence should be presented.


15The Ombudsman may:

  1. (1)

    exclude evidence that would otherwise be admissible in a court or include evidence that would not be admissible in a court;

  2. (2)

    accept information in confidence (so that only an edited version, summary or description is disclosed to the other party) where he considers it appropriate;

  3. (3)

    reach a decision on the basis of what has been supplied and take account of the failure by a party to provide information requested; and

  4. (4)

    dismiss a complaint if a complainant fails to supply requested information.

DISP 3.5.10GRP

15Evidence which the Ombudsman may accept in confidence includes confidential evidence about third parties and security information.

DISP 3.5.11GRP

15The Ombudsman has the power to require a party to provide evidence. Failure to comply with the request can be dealt with by the court.

DISP 3.5.12GRP

15The Ombudsman may take into account evidence from third parties, including (but not limited to) the FSA , other regulators, experts in industry matters and experts in consumer matters.

Procedural time limits

DISP 3.5.13RRP

15The Ombudsman may fix (and extend) time limits for any aspect of the consideration of a complaint by the Financial Ombudsman Service.

DISP 3.5.14RRP

15If a respondent fails to comply with a time limit, the Ombudsman may:

  1. (1)

    proceed with consideration of the complaint; and

  2. (2)

    include provision for any material distress or material inconvenience caused by that failure in any award which he decides to make.

DISP 3.5.15RRP

15If a complainant fails to comply with a time limit, the Ombudsman may:

  1. (1)

    proceed with consideration of the complaint; or

  2. (2)

    dismiss the complaint.