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Commentary from Courtside: Smith vs RBS & Burrell vs RBS

The Royal Bank of Scotland last week attempted a “third bite at the cherry” regarding two claims involving unfair relationships, said to have arisen from the bank’s failure to disclose commission payments it received during the sale of payment protection insurance (‘PPI’) policies.

In the conjoined cases of Smith v. RBS and Burrell v. RBS, the bank asked the Court of Appeal to overturn the decisions of District Judges, subsequently upheld on first appeal, which found in the Claimants’ favour.  The courts held that the time period within which claims can be validly brought is six years from the end of the relationship between the parties.  This date ought to be when the relevant credit agreement ends, even if the PPI policy and payments ceased many years earlier.

RBS argued that the law only permitted claims in respect of PPI policies which were still in existence on 6 April 2008.  However, the Claimants’ robustly opposed those arguments and asked the appeal court to uphold the earlier decisions, relying on binding legal precedent and stating that Parliament’s intentions when making the law were clear.

The Court of Appeal’s judgment will be handed down at a later date.

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