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Released 17 January 2008
A High Court Judge, Mr Justice Andrew Smith will today and tomorrow review
legal submissions from some of the top lawyer's in the country over fees that
banks have imposed on consumers who have exceeded their overdraft limits.
The full hearing will begin on Wednesday in the International Dispute
Resolution Centre in Fleet Street. The case was originally to be held in the
Royal Courts of Justice, but due to the expected turnout of lawyers and
journalists, it was thought that the case necessitated a larger venue.
The case was brought by the Office of Fair Trading, who will argue that fees
imposed by banks on to its customers who had exceeded their overdraft limits
were illegal under contract law, including the Unfair Terms in Contracts Act (UCTA)
1977. Thousands of claims have been previously brought by individual customers
before county courts, so the outcome of this case will effect thousands of
pending decisions. It is thought that the banks have already spent hundreds of
thousands to settle out of court claims. However, if this case goes in favour of
consumers, the banks could stand to lose millions or even billions. Furthermore,
if the banks did lose the case, consumers may also lose out, because it would
mean the end of "free" current accounts and prices will surely increase
The banks in question (and one building society) are Abby National, Barclays,
Clydesdale, HSBC, HBOS, Lloyds TSB, Royal Bank of Scotland and Nationwide
Building Society, who have instructed some of the most prestigious lawyers in
the country. The case will most likely progress to the House of Lords due to the
importance of the issues being raised, namely issues surrounding unfair contract
terms as between businesses and consumers. A judgment is expected by Easter.
Corinne Day is a trainee solicitor
who specialises in information technology law and intellectual property law.
About the Author
Lawdit Solicitors offer services and
advice for litigation, commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal
agreements. We are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-01-27 21:34:55 in Legal Articles