Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Ombudsman writes £100,000 off on 'irresponsible' loan secured on Glasgow couple's home

A Glasgow couple who borrowed £20,000 on a APR of 16.2% over 40 years - at a whopping total cost of almost £124,000 - have been successful in arguing that their lender failed to undertake a proper affordability check, had overridden its own lending criteria, and irresponsibly sold an unaffordable product to the couple, which was secured on their home.

The couple, respresented by Govan Law Centre, could not pursue a claim against their independent financial advisor (IFA) firm, which had since folded, and the lender sought to hold the IFA responsible for any failing. The Ombudsman held that 'I did not consider that White Label had properly assessed how the loan would be affordable so far into Mr and Mrs C's retirement'. The Ombudsman ordered the lender to release the couple from the current loan agreement, effectively writing-off £100,000 in terms of the secured loan agreement.

The couple's solicitor, GLC's Mike Dailly said: "This is a fantastic result for our clients who would have otherwise been looking at repossession. It raises two important principles; first, that a lender is ultimately responsible for their own product and cannot always avoid liability by pointing to a third party financial advisor who sold their product as an intermediary, and secondly, a lender has to adhere to its own lending criteria and make sufficient enquiries to assess affordability".

The Ombudsman's Final Decision is here.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Govan Law Centre participates in UK launch of the Justice First Fellowship - opportunities for legal traineeships for those committed to social justice and social welfare law

Justice First Fellowship is a prestigious new Scheme established to support the next generation of students in the UK committed to public interest and social justice issues who want to pursue a career in social welfare law. The Scheme has been established by The Legal Education Foundation, in partnership with Govan Law Centre and other organisations in the social welfare law sector.

Govan Law Centre is one of seven organisations in the UK participating in the Justice First Fellowship, other partners include Coram Children's Legal Centre, Coventry Law Centre, Deighton Pierce Glynn, Greater Manchester Immigration Unit, Staffordshire North and Stoke on Trent Citizens Advice Bureaux, and the Public Law Project.

This is the first year of the Scheme, and it will focus on law graduates that have passed the Legal Practice Course or Diploma in Professional Legal Practice and are seeking to complete their training contract before taking up a role in social welfare law. The aim is that the Fellowship Scheme will come to be seen as a respected route to a career in this important area of law, with Fellows going on to become leaders in their field and important advocates for access to justice and the rule of law.

In 2014, the Fellowship has three parts. To provide:
1.      Training contract placements for law graduates seeking to pursue a career in social welfare law;
2.      Fellows with time and resource alongside their traineeships to develop and implement a project that will advance access to justice in some way;
3.      Additional support, training and opportunities for Fellows to gain skills and feel part of a wider movement of people committed to access to justice.

For more information and how to apply please visit the Justice First Fellowship website here; please note that applications cannot be made until Monday 8 September 2014, when the application process goes live.