James Strachan QC and Stephen Kosmin successfully defended the Financial Ombudsman Service in judicial review proceedings challenging a Jurisdiction Decision of the Financial Ombudsman Service. The Jurisdiction Decision held that the Financial Ombudsman Service had jurisdiction to consider a complaint made against Chancery (UK) LLP in respect of advice it had provided to the Interested Party, Sir Ian Robinson, to enter into a film scheme because Chancery (UK) LLP had provided advice as to investment in units in a collective investment scheme. As a partner in the film scheme, a participant had been able to obtain ‘sideways tax relief’ by offsetting expenditure on the production of films in the early years of the film scheme against income; but, by 2008, the HMRC sought to close off such tax mitigation schemes.
Chancery (UK) LLP, represented by Alison Foster QC and Saima Hanif, had contended that the Financial Ombudsman Service had no jurisdiction to deal with the complaint, because the advice which it had given concerned entry into a tax avoidance scheme rather than investment; that the scheme was not a collective investment scheme; and that the Financial Ombudsman Service should have exercised its discretion against considering the complaint, leaving the Interested Party to pursue his common law remedy in contract or negligence.
Ouseley J, by a judgment dated 20 February 2015, dismissed the challenge and awarded the Financial Ombudsman Service its costs.
The judgment is available on Lawtel.