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High Court to rule on FSA’s “Lautro 19” appeal in May

The High Court will take over a month to decide whether the FSA’s appeal to avoid naming the Lautro 19 has been successful.

In October, the Information Tribunal rejected the FSA’s argument that the Information Commissioner did not have the right to order the publication of the names of businesses involved.

In court this Monday Justice Munby considered new closed evidence which refocused the FSA’s argument on Section 348 of the Financial Services and Markets Act. It states that confidential information received by the FSA must not be disclosed without consent.

One of the FSA’s previous, unsuccessful arguments to the Tribunal was that article 8 of the Human Rights Act applies, which guarantees individual privacy.

The case stems from a Freedom of Information request by IFA Defence Union chairman Evan Owen in January 2005. The IC ruled in August 2007 that the FSA had to name the endowment mortgage providers which misused Lautro projections in setting premiums, meaning customers were given unrealistically high maturity figures.

Advisers say unrealistic projections led many consumers to complain about endowment shortfalls that were exaggerated or non-existent, which led to misselling payouts that would not have occurred if the projections were correct.

After hearing evidence from the FSA and the IC, Justice Munby said: “It’s unlikely that there will be a decision within the next month.”

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