FBD challenges Ombudsman's ability to investigate a complaint which is before the High Court.


Registered User
The High Court cannot decide on non legal issues
With respect, yes it can, depending on the type of case brought and the governing legislation. I’m not familiar with the FBD case but the High Court has a jurisdiction known as “equitable jurisdiction” which it can (and does), invoke and which looks precisely at non-legal and “fairness” issues.

Further, where a party brings Judicial Review proceedings, the Court is asked, usually, to examine the process surrounding the reaching of a decision by the public body concerned. This often involves looking at distinctly “non-law” issues such as internal processes, decisions reached, reasonableness, proportionality, convening meetings held etc.

It is certainly true that the High Court has appellate and pure legal jurisdiction in some cases e.g, “on a point of law”, where it is limited to the discrete legal point, but to state that the High Court is limited to legal issues exclusively doesn’t paint the full picture.

I know from my own experience that where a public body was reaching decisions and such decisions were squarely the matter of a High Court case, it was incumbent on the public body concerned to proceed with caution pending the outcome of the Court decision. Sometimes this meant that all decision making processes of the public body that were relevant to the Court case were placed on hold pending the determination of the Court.

Brendan Burgess

The High Court struck out the proceedings, on consent of the parties, noting the agreement of FBD to discharge certain legal costs to the FSPO and to the publican policyholder, which was a notice party to the proceedings.

The FSPO welcomes the striking out of this case and has confirmed he will vigorously oppose any attempt by a financial service provider or pension provider, to restrain him in the exercise of his statutory powers, to investigate a complaint pursuant to the provisions of the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman Act 2017.


Registered User
Hi Jayom75,

You are correct regarding the courts equitable jurisdiction, but it is settled law that the courts must defer to the FSPO adjudication on non legal issues, as it is this office that has particular expertise in that area. It would be unjust towards any consumer who has a complaint lodged with the FSPO (with legal and non legal issues) if a provider states that the matter is or has been already before the courts and therefore the FSPO is precluded from investigating or adjudicating on the complaint. This is my point, but as Brendan states let’s the wigs decide if the law is an ass.