Clark v In Focus Asset Management & Tax Solutions Ltd

In a ruling of interest to banks and other financial advisers facing complaints at the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) or facing claims at court following an FOS decision, the Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal by a firm of financial advisers, In Focus Asset Management & Tax Solutions Ltd, against its former clients Mr and Mrs Barry Clark. The Clarks were awarded and paid compensation following an FOS decision, but then proceeded with a claim in the County Court against In Focus for what they believed was the remainder of their loss. The Court of Appeal held that the subsequent claim in the County Court was in essence the same as the FOS complaint and as such the common law doctrine of res judicata (‘a matter already judged’) applied — that is, the Clarks’ complaint could not proceed as court proceedings.

The case provides a measure of comfort to banks and other financial advisers that have already faced complaints at the FOS but are served with a separate claim form that contains the same facts and causes of action as those of the FOS complaint…

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