FSA awarded legal costs over “unreasonable” referral proceedings

The Upper Tribunal has awarded the FSA its legal costs after it successfully defended its decision to cancel the permission of James Perman & Company, a Scottish accountancy firm.

The regulator decided to cancel the permission granted to JPC, an authorised professional firm based in Ayrshire, in June 2010 after the firm repeatedly refused to comply with the FSA’s request to conduct a supervisory visit at the firm’s offices.

However, JPC referred the FSA’s decision to the Upper Tribunal in July 2010 but this was dismissed on August 25 2011. The tribunal then directed the FSA to cancel JPC’s permission because the firm had failed to cooperate with the FSA, which it did on September 19.

The regulator then applied to the Upper Tribunal to recover its costs, arguing JPC had aced unreasonably in pursuing the proceedings after the FSA had offered a reasonable settlement to the firm in November 2010. The tribunal agreed with the FSA.

The FSA’s cost were £8,665.

The Upper Tribunal said the firm’s rejection of what was a “reasonable offer on the part of the FSA amounted to unreasonable conduct… and caused the FSA to incur the costs”.

FSA head of retail enforcement Will Amos says: “This decision emphasises the importance of ensuring that the Upper Tribunal process and the resources of the FSA are not used unnecessarily. We believed that JPC had acted unreasonably in refusing the FSA’s settlement and choosing to make a referral to the Tribunal.

“By making the costs order against Mr Perman, the Upper Tribunal has endorsed the FSA’s message that our resources and the Tribunal process must not be misused.”