Bank charges appeal dismissed; leave to appeal given (eventually)

On 26 February 2009 the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal of the banks in the great English test case about the fairness of certain bank overdraft charges: see Abbey National plc v Office of Fair Trading [2009] EWCA (Civ) 116.

The Court of Appeal essentially upheld the judgment of Andrew Smith J at first instance, finding the charges in question unfair under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 (summarised here).  The court also refused the banks leave to appeal to the House of Lords, but that decision was itself the subject of an appeal which was upheld by the Law Lords on the possibly inauspicious date of 1 April. 

The Scottish actions that have been sisted to await the outcome of this English litigation must therefore remain in suspense, in all probability for another year.  Some old saying about justice delayed comes into the back of the Scots Law News mind, but of course the appellate process is not about delaying justice but ensuring it.  Let’s hope so.  Of course the whole thing could fold with the banks themselves, since those involved in the case include RBS, HBOS and Lloyds TSB; but we must wait and see.