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Walls v Santander

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The above is a case of a customer reclaiming overdraft charges that was being heard at Glasgow Sheriff Court by Sheriff Cubie. There is a report on the outcome in today's Herald newspaper (http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/customers-hit-by-death-blow-in-bid-to-sue-banks-1.1041325) - basically Cubie has accepted the bank's case that the issues were too complex to be heard under small claims and should go through the ordinary roll. The problem with this is that it opens up the pursuer (Ms Walls in this case) to unlimited costs, it says at one point in the story.

I think it looks an important case for us to be aware of, but at the same time I think the spin that is being put on it by the paper is interesting in itself in a number of ways:


  1. the paper says costs awarded against Ms Walls could be unlimited - later on they quote Mike Dailly of Govan Law Centre as suggesting anything up to £10k (still a hell of a risk for a £3k claim, but not unlimited)
  2. there do appear to be, as the Sheriff puts it, "exceptional issues" in this case. So do these apply more generally, or at they verging on the unique. Unfortunately the report doesnt go into this and there is nothing on the GLC website. But if the latter, then it is really a "death blow"?
  3. to some extent it seems to fly in the face of policy, which was to extend small claims to larger sums and keep them out of ordinary roll. In this respect we will need to see what McCaskill proposes to do next (think he is at the golf today!)
  4. Sharp v BoS is still - as far as I know - ongoing and that will explore an unfair relationship as a basis of claims against the banks for unfair charges.

Thus, while Walls is a set back, I wonder if it really is as bad (from a consumer pov) as the Herald is making out. However that is the view that many people will acquire. We'll see if Mike Dailly gets on to them - perhaps a letter in their letter page - as he is not the sort of guy to let them away with what could be a siginficantly misleading portrayal of the situation

Comments anyone?

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