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DISP 4.1 Application and Purpose

Application

DISP 4.1.1 G RP

The standard terms apply to any company, partnership, individual practitioner or other business which has decided to be a participant in the Voluntary Jurisdiction (a VJ participant). They are fixed by FOS Ltd with the approval of the FSA in accordance with paragraph 18 of Schedule 17 to the Act.

Purpose

DISP 4.1.2 G RP

The standard terms are the basis on which complaints will be dealt with and determined under the Voluntary Jurisdiction. They cover:

  1. (1)

    the rules and guidance for handling complaints (see DISP 4.2.2 R to DISP 4.2.6 R);

  2. (2)

    an indemnity for FOS Ltd, any member of its governing body, any member of its staff and any person acting as an Ombudsman, as permitted by paragraph 18(5) of Schedule 17 to the Act (see DISP 4.2.7 R);

  3. (3)

    the Ombudsman's powers relating to determinations and awards (see DISP 4.2.8 R);

  4. (4)

    the enforcement of a determination (see DISP 4.2.10 R); and

  5. (5)

    the process for withdrawal by a VJ participant from the Voluntary Jurisdiction (see DISP 4.2.11 R).

DISP 4.2 The standard terms

DISP 4.2.1 R RP
  1. (1)

    For the purposes of the standard terms, a company, partnership, individual practitioner or other business, whether authorised or unauthorised, agreeing to participate in the Voluntary Jurisdiction of the Financial Ombudsman Service is known as a VJ participant.

  2. (2)

    In consequence of the agreement by the VJ participant to participate in the Voluntary Jurisdiction, the standard terms fix the basis on which complaints relating to relevant acts or omissions of the VJ participant are to be dealt with and determined.

  3. (3)

    Where the standard terms apply rules relating to the Compulsory Jurisdiction for the purposes of the Voluntary Jurisdiction, those are to be treated as part of the standard terms.

  4. (4)

    A VJ participant is subject to the standard terms, which may be amended or supplemented with the approval of the FSA.

Complaint handling procedures

DISP 4.2.2 R RP

The rules and guidance contained in DISP 1 (Complaint handling procedures for firms) will apply to VJ participants for the purposes of the Voluntary Jurisdiction as if they were firms, with the exception of DISP 1.1.1 R (Application) and DISP 1.5 (Record keeping and reporting). DISP 1.2 (Internal complaint handling procedures: general requirements) applies in relation to complaints about activities of the VJ participant specified in DISP 2.6.9 R.

DISP 4.2.3 R RP

DISP 1.5.1 R contains a requirement for a firm in the Compulsory Jurisdiction to make and retain records of complaints subject to DISP 1.4 - DISP 1.6 for a minimum period of three years from the date of its receipt of a complaint. Although this requirement is not applied to VJ participants, they may need to keep records of complaints for sufficient time to enable them to provide the Ombudsman with necessary information in the event of a complaint being referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service. The requirement for reporting complaints to the FSA under DISP 1.5.4 R is also not applied to VJ participants.

Jurisdiction of the Financial Ombudsman Service

DISP 4.2.4 R RP

The rules and guidance contained in DISP 2 will apply for the purposes of the Voluntary Jurisdiction, with the exception of DISP 2.6.1 R - DISP 2.6.8 G.

DISP 4.2.5 R RP

By agreeing to participate in the Voluntary Jurisdiction, a VJ participant also agrees to complaints relating to activities covered by DISP 2.6.9 R being dealt with under DISP 2.6.12 R.

Complaint handling procedures of the Financial Ombudsman Service

DISP 4.2.6 R RP

The rules and guidance contained in DISP 3 will apply to VJ participants for the purposes of the Voluntary Jurisdiction as if they were firms (except where their application to VJ participants is specifically excluded or necessarily inapplicable).

Liability

DISP 4.2.7 R RP
  1. (1)

    None of the following is to be liable in damages for anything done or omitted in the discharge, or purported discharge, of any functions in connection with the Voluntary Jurisdiction:

    1. (a)

      FOS Ltd;

    2. (b)

      any member of its governing body;

    3. (c)

      any member of its staff;

    4. (d)

      any person acting as an Ombudsman for the purposes of the Financial Ombudsman Service.

  2. (2)

    Paragraph (1) does not apply:

    1. (a)

      where the act or omission is shown to have been in bad faith; or

    2. (b)

      so as to prevent an award of damages made in respect of an act or omission on the ground that the act or omission was unlawful as a result of section 6(1) of the Human Rights Act 1998.

Determination and awards

DISP 4.2.8 R RP

If the Ombudsman determines a complaint under the Voluntary Jurisdiction in favour of the complainant, the determination may include:

  1. (1)

    a "money award", that is, an award against the VJ participant of such amount as the Ombudsman considers fair compensation for financial loss or for loss or damage of a kind specified in DISP 3.9.2 G that has been suffered, or may be suffered, by the complainant;

  2. (2)

    a direction that the VJ participant take such steps in relation to the complainant as the Ombudsman considers just and appropriate (whether or not a court could order those steps to be taken).

DISP 4.2.9 G

DISP 4.2.8 R gives the Ombudsman the same powers to make money awards and directions as he has, under section 229 of the Act (Awards), in relation to firms in the Compulsory Jurisdiction.

Enforcement of a determination

DISP 4.2.10 R

The Ombudsman's determination, if accepted by the complainant within the time limit specified by the Ombudsman, will be binding on the VJ participant and final, and may be enforced in court by the complainant.

Withdrawal from the Voluntary Jurisdiction of the Financial Ombudsman Service

DISP 4.2.11 R

A VJ participant may not withdraw from the Voluntary Jurisdiction of the Financial Ombudsman Service unless the VJ participant:

  1. (1)

    has submitted a written plan to FOS Ltd setting out its proposals for:

    1. (a)

      notifying its existing customers of its intention to withdraw from the Voluntary Jurisdiction; and

    2. (b)

      the handling of complaints against it prior to its withdrawal from the Voluntary Jurisdiction; and

  2. (2)

    the plan has been approved in writing by FOS Ltd; and

  3. (3)

    the VJ participant has paid the general levy for the year in which it withdraws and any other fees payable; and

  4. (4)

    FOS Ltd has agreed in writing the date on which the VJ participant may withdraw from the Voluntary Jurisdiction (which date is not to be earlier than six months from the date of approval of the plan).

DISP 4.2.12 R

The following rules in FEES 5112 apply (subject to DISP 4.2.13 R) to VJ participants as part of their agreement to be subject to the Voluntary Jurisdiction as if they were authorised firms, but subject to the variations stated in each case.

1 12
  1. (1)

    112FEES 5.3.6 R112 (general levy) subject to substituting the words 'Voluntary Jurisdiction' for 'Compulsory Jurisdiction' and substituting the words 'FOS Ltd' for 'the FSA';

  2. (2)

    112FEES 5.3.8 R112 (calculation of general levy);

  3. (3)

    112FEES 5.4.1 R112 (information) subject to substituting the words 'FOS Ltd' for 'FSA';

  4. (4)

    112FEES 5.5.1 R112 (standard case fee);

  5. (5)

    112FEES 5.5.6 R112 (special case fee);

  6. (6)

    112FEES 5.6.5 R112 subject to substituting 'to FOS Ltd' for 'to the FSA' and 112FEES 5.6.6 R112 (supplementary levy for establishment costs) subject to substituting 'Part 4' for 'Part 2';

  7. (7)

    112FEES 5.7.1 R112 subject to substituting 'to FOS Ltd' for 'to the FSA' and 'by FOS Ltd' for 'by the FSA', 112FEES 5.7.2 R112 to 112FEES 5.7.3 R112, 112FEES 2.2.2 G112, 112FEES 2.2.1 R112, 112FEES 2.3.1 R112 and 112FEES 2.3.2 R112 (payment).

  8. (8)

    112FEES 5.8.1 R112 (joining the Financial Ombudsman Service) and FEES 4.2.6 R (1)(b)112;

    112
  9. (9)

    112FEES 5 Annex 1 R112 (fees payable).

DISP 4.2.13 R

A VJ participant which joins the Voluntary Jurisdiction before the end of the financial year in which the commencement day falls must pay to FOS Ltd the special case fee specified in 112FEES 5 Annex 1 R112 for 112FEES 5.5.10 R112 in respect of each chargeable case falling within the Voluntary Jurisdiction and closed under the Financial Ombudsman Service before 31 March 2002, unless it was, immediately before the commencement day, a member of a former scheme, which was paid an agreed sum to the FOS Ltd in respect of the handling of complaints against its former members up to 31 March 2002.

DISP 4.2.14 G

At commencement, the general levy, supplementary levy and standard and special case fees which will apply to VJ participants under DISP 4.2.12 R will not have been fixed. So, in order to fund the Voluntary Jurisdiction until the end of 2001/02 financial year, VJ participants joining in the period up to the end of the first financial year after commencement will pay the special case fee in DISP 4.2.13 R. The fee is the same as that specified for firms not in former schemes which become subject to the Compulsory Jurisdiction at commencement.