The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI) has welcomed the moves by several courts to terminate some interest-only mortgage legal claims before commencement, as the industry continues to battle against actions.
The legal claims relate to interest-only mortgage products sold between 2004 and 2007, with only a small number going to the Financial Ombudsman Service. The remainder face court action.
During recent months, several cases have been terminated before reaching the court, while a further three cases have supported the decision by companies to defend themselves.
The three cases that supported the broker position were Ross and Ross versus Attanta Limited; Collett and Collett versus APF Private Clients Limited; and Colborn and Colborn versus Albany Park Limited.
AMI chief executive, Robert Sinclair, said: “We have always maintained that these claims brought by professional law firms are vexatious and without proper foundation. So far the courts have supported this view. We will continue to challenge the Solicitors Regulatory Authority to accordingly supervise their member firms.
“It is critical that all cases are defended unless there is a genuine customer case. The fact that it was interest Only is insufficient. There needs to be other factors ignored at the time. I am genuinely struggling to identify what these might be.”
The AMI said it is continuing to work with members to ensure that these cases are defended in a “fair, but robust manner”, but has urged companies to engage with their PI insurer early.
Sinclair added: “The courts in delivering their judgements have also considered many of the substantive issues under review. These broadly have reduced the amounts of claim substantially, established that they have limited or no merit, set out that the costs of court time outweigh potential benefit and challenge the quality of both the claimant evidence and expert witness work.”
“We are encouraged that firms might be able to recover their costs from the claimants as they mostly are insured.”