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Defence union takes step forward in FOS challenge

The IFA Defence Union claims it has moved a step closer to securing a legal challenge against the Financial Ombudsman Service for breaching the Humans Rights Act after getting a solicitor’s backing.

The IFADU has received written opinion from solicitor Clarke Wilmott that it has a fair chance of securing a judicial review based on one of five cases where IFA firms were found guilty of endowment misselling.

Clarke Wilmott agrees with the IFADU’s contention that the removal of the right of defence under FOS Disp rules in the form of a 15-year long-stop, available under general law, is a breach of the Human Rights Act. It adds that the removal of the long-stop allows for an essentially open-ended liability involving “stale” cases with incomplete and unreliable evidence.

IFADU chief Evan Owen says he aims to mount a challenge in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg but has to exhaust all domestic legal avenues first.

He says: “This is a major step forward. The only thing holding us back is the cost.”

FOS spokeswoman Emma Parker says: “A solicitor paid by Evan Owen is entitled to their opinion but it is a good thing we are publicly accountable.”

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