The Ombudsman cannot deal with a complaint, where fraud is alleged

Brendan Burgess

An interesting comment in the Annual Review 2016

Dealing with complaints where fraud is alleged

It has at all times been the stated position of the Financial Services Ombudsman, that where an allegation of fraudulent activity is made by a Complainant or a financial service provider, the matter falls outside the statutory remit of this office and is more appropriate for an alternative forum. On 8 April 2016 Noonan J. of the High Court delivered Judgment in Coleman v FSO and another [2015/13MCA] and having noted that the Complainant had alleged that the Bank was involved in a “crooked scheme”, the Court rejected the appeal and confirmed that:-

“Clearly the FSO cannot make determinations of criminal liability as to do so would impinge unconstitutionally on the function of the Courts”.

“It would clearly have been well outside the remit of the FSO to arrange to have various witnesses from the Bank called to be asked if they had mis-appropriated the Appellant’s funds”: That is clearly not a matter upon which the FSO could have embarked. Such an issue would be one for An Garda Síochána were a complaint to be made by the Appellant”.

In any instance where a Complainant expresses concerns in relation to potential conspiracy, fraud or forgery, the limitations of the jurisdiction of the FSO are explained in detail, to that Complainant, to enable a decision to be
made as to how best that matter can be progressed.