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General provisions

Introduction to BBRS

GPR 1 :

BBRS is a private company limited by guarantee established to provide a dispute resolution scheme in line with the Company’s Object.

Legal basis of BBRS’ jurisdiction

GPR 2 :
  1. The legal rights and obligations of BBRS, Complainants and Respondents within the scheme are created by the following contracts:
    1. the Participation Deed, by which Respondents agree with BBRS to participate in the scheme, to comply with the Scheme Rules, and to comply with Determinations and Final Determinations that BBRS makes in accordance with the Scheme Rules;
    2. Customer Agreements, by which Complainants agree to participate in the scheme in respect of their particular Complaints, and to comply with the Scheme Rules; and
    3. these Scheme Rules, which set out the processes by which BBRS will accept and determine Complaints, the powers of the BBRS to make Determinations and Awards, and the other rules that make the BBRS scheme work.

Acting reasonably and in good faith

GPR 3 :

BBRS, the Chief Adjudicator, each Complainant and each Respondent will act at all times reasonably and in good faith towards one another while a Complaint is being considered.

About the Scheme Rules

GPR 4 :
  1. In these Scheme Rules, terms with an initial capital letter are defined terms, as set out in the Glossary.
  2. The provisions of the Scheme Rules should be interpreted in a purposive way, consistently with the Participation Deed, the Customer Agreement, and the overall Company’s Object.
  3. The Scheme Rules bind Complainants, Respondents and the BBRS.
  4. Where the Scheme Rules refers to a notification by or to BBRS, the Chief Adjudicator, a Complainant or a Respondent, or a notice being served, that notification or notice may be made by any reasonable means, including but not limited to email and first class post.
  5. Within the provisions of the Scheme Rules, cross references to other provisions in the Scheme Rules are in bold typeface.
  6. Where these Scheme Rules make reference to an act and/or omission, this should be read as including their plurals.

Confidential Complaint Information

GPR 5 :
  1. Subject only to (2), in relation to any and all Confidential Complaint Information, BBRS, the Chief Adjudicator, the Complainant and the Respondent must:
    1. keep such information confidential at all times;
    2. only use such information, and share it with one another, for the purposes of BBRS’s dealing with a Complaint; and
    3. not publish or disclose any part of any Confidential Complaint Information:
      1. at any time during the process of BBRS’s dealing with a Complaint, or
      2. at any time when BBRS has stopped dealing with a Complaint for whatever reason.
  2. The sole exceptions to (1) are as follows:
    1. Where the publication, disclosure or use is required by applicable law or regulation;
    2. Where the disclosure is to a professional adviser or other representative, provided the relevant professional adviser or representative has agreed to keep the information confidential on the same terms as in this Scheme Rule GPR 5;
    3. The BBRS, the Chief Adjudicator, the Complainant or Respondent may disclose a Provisional Determination, Determination or Final Determination in any of the following circumstances:
      1. it is being disclosed only by BBRS or the Respondent voluntarily to the Financial Conduct Authority or other regulator or public authority;
      2. for the purpose of enforcing that Determination or Final Determination against the Respondent before a court;
      3. for the purposes of legal proceedings other than those in (iii), including in relation to alternative dispute resolution schemes, where the proceedings involve the Complainant, the Respondent and the same subject matter of the relevant Complaint;
    4. Each of BBRS and a Respondent may disclose Confidential Complaint Information to a sub-contractor for the purpose of enabling BBRS or the relevant Respondent to comply with these Scheme Rules, and provided that the sub-contractor has agreed to keep it confidential on the same terms as in (1);
    5. The BBRS may publish, for the purpose of informing the public about the nature of the BBRS’ work and likely users of the scheme about BBRS’ approach:
      1. aggregate or thematic data about Complaints or their outcomes; or
      2. summaries of Determinations or Final Determinations, provided that the names of all of the parties to the Complaint, and all of the individuals referenced in the Determination or Final Determination, are anonymised and (to the extent relevant) any other personal data relating to any individual is removed.

The Chief Adjudicator

GPR 6 :
  1. BBRS will carry out its obligations and exercise its powers to determine Complaints under these Scheme Rules through its Chief Adjudicator, who is appointed by and is responsible to the BBRS Board, in accordance with BBRS’ Articles of Association.
  2. When carrying out BBRS’ obligations and exercising its powers under these Scheme Rules, the Chief Adjudicator will act independently of the BBRS Board and all other persons, including but not limited to any regulator, trade body, Liaison Panel, Respondent or Complainant.
  3. Where a Scheme Rule confers a power on the Chief Adjudicator to make a determination or a decision, subject to GPR 3 (and unless otherwise specified in these Scheme Rules), the Chief Adjudicator shall exercise that power in their absolute discretion.
  4. Except where these Scheme Rules prescribe that an obligation or a power must be carried out by the Chief Adjudicator personally, a reference in the Scheme Rules to the Chief Adjudicator includes a reference to any relevant delegate to whom the Chief Adjudicator may have delegated the obligation or exercise of the power concerned.

Other BBRS staff

GPR 7 :
  1. The Chief Adjudicator may delegate to Case Assessors powers conferred on the Chief Adjudicator by these Scheme Rules. In particular, the Chief Adjudicator may appoint one or more Case Assessors to be responsible for:
    1. assessing whether Complaints meet the Eligibility Conditions;
    2. the assessment of evidence;
    3. the making of Provisional Determinations and Determinations;
    4. assessment of Awards; and
    5. sitting on, chairing, and making Final Determinations as part of, an Appeal Panel.
  2. BBRS will designate customer champions, who will be responsible for assisting a Complainant by providing practical, procedural and emotional support to Complainants during the BBRS process. customer champions will not perform obligations or exercise powers conferred on the Chief Adjudicator by these Scheme Rules but will, where the Complainant requests:
    1. explain how BBRS works, help fill in forms, and organise papers;
    2. help a Complainant to structure their Complaint clearly, in a way that will enable the Chief Adjudicator and the Respondent to understand all the material issues;
    3. help a Complainant respond to requests from a Case Assessor, for example by helping a Complainant to provide further evidence, by marshalling/assembling documents and providing those to the Case Assessor and, where needed, by obtaining the Complainant’s consent to release/disclosure by the Respondent of information and documents relevant to the Complaint;
    4. help a Complainant to understand a Provisional Determination, Determination or Final Determination, or other outcome of their case; and
    5. explain the provisions of these Scheme Rules concerning Costs Awards, with an explanation that in most cases Complainants should not need to have legal or other professional advisers to bring Complaints to the BBRS, so Costs Awards are unlikely to be common.
  3. The customer champion must not:
    1. make, or purport to make, any decisions required under these Scheme Rules (including Provisional Determinations, Determinations and Final Determinations); or
    2. provide legal or other advice, or legal representation to any person (including a Complainant, Duly Authorised individual or Recognised Individual) in connection with these Scheme Rules.

Suspension or cessation for legal or regulatory reasons

GPR 8 :

All of the rights and obligations of Complainants, Respondents and the BBRS under these Scheme Rules are subject to an overriding power of the BBRS, pursuant to this rule, to suspend or cease its consideration of any Complaint (or Complaints) at any time where:

  1. the Chief Adjudicator has not yet issued any Determination in relation to that Complaint (where it has done so, this rule shall not apply in relation to that Complaint); and
  2. any of the following conditions applies:
    1. the Chief Adjudicator determines that it is necessary or desirable to suspend or cease consideration of that Complaint for any reason connected with the law or financial services regulation applicable in any part of the United Kingdom; or
    2. the Chief Adjudicator is requested in writing to do so by either the Financial Conduct Authority or Her Majesty’s Treasury (or any successor authorities to them).
GPR 9 :

Where BBRS suspends or ceases consideration of a Complaint under GPR 8:

  1. it shall give notice to any affected Complainant or Respondent as soon as reasonably practicable; and
  2. any affected Complainant or Respondent shall not be entitled to any further consideration of the relevant Complaint by BBRS under these Scheme Rules except where BBRS gives reasonable notice that it will resume consideration of the Complaint following a suspension.

No arbitration

GPR 10
GPR 10 :

Nothing in these Scheme Rules, the Participation Deed or the Customer Agreement shall be interpreted as constituting an agreement to arbitrate and the provisions of the Arbitration Act 1996 shall have no application. Any Determination or Final Determination which is accepted by a Complainant in accordance with the provisions of these Scheme Rules will constitute a settlement agreement which is enforceable as a contract, and not as an arbitration award.