Resolution of disputes with financial service providers within the justice system

Resolution of disputes with financial service providers within the justice system

On 14 February 2019, the Senate referred the resolution of disputes with financial service providers within the justice system matter to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by 8 April 2019:

The ability of consumers and small businesses to exercise their legal rights through the justice system, and whether there are fair, affordable and appropriate resolution processes to resolve disputes with financial service providers, in particular the big four banks considering:

  1. whether the way in which banks and other financial service providers have used the legal system to resolve disputes with consumers and small businesses has reflected fairness and proportionality, including:
    1. whether banks and other financial service providers have used the legal system to pressure customers into accepting settlements that did not reflect their legal rights,
    2. whether banks and other financial service providers have pursued legal claims against customers despite being aware of misconduct by their own officers or employees that may mitigate those claims, and
    3. whether banks generally have behaved in a way that meets community standards when dealing with consumers trying to exercise their legal rights;
  2. the accessibility and appropriateness of the court system as a forum to resolve these disputes fairly, including:
    1. the ability of people in conflict with a large financial institution to attain affordable, quality legal advice and representation,
    2. the cost of legal representation and court fees,
    3. costs risks of unsuccessful litigation, and
    4. the experience of participants in a court process who appear unrepresented;
  3. the accessibility and appropriateness of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) as an alternative forum for resolving disputes including:
    1. whether the eligibility criteria and compensation thresholds for AFCA warrant change,
    2. whether AFCA has the powers and resources it needs,
    3. whether AFCA faces proper accountability measures, and
    4. whether enhancement to their test case procedures, or other expansions to AFCA'’'s role in law reform, is warranted;
  4. the accessibility of community legal centre advice relating to financial matters; and
  5. any other related matters.

The deadline for submissions to the inquiry is 1 March 2019.

Committee Secretariat contact:

Committee Secretary
Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 3560
Fax: +61 2 6277 5794
legcon.sen@aph.gov.au

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