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information for businesses covered by the ombudsman service

This section answers a number of frequently-asked questions (FAQs) about:

our rules & powers

appeals

can I appeal against an ombudsman's decision?

A decision by one of our ombudsmen is the final stage of our dispute-resolution procedure. If the consumer accepts the decision, it becomes legally binding on both parties.

You cannot appeal an ombudsman decision to another ombudsman. By the time an ombudsman makes a final decision on a case - which happens in fewer than one in ten of all the disputes we resolve - we will already have given you a clear view as to the likely final outcome. And we will already have given you several opportunities to present the facts and arguments that you believe are central to your case.

An ombudsman decision is the final stage in a process that generally involves a series of findings at increasing levels of formality - from informal guided mediation and recommended settlements to more formal adjudications and provisional ombudsman decisions.

You will already have had the opportunity to question and challenge our views on a dispute, before one of our ombudsmen makes a final decision on the case. So you cannot go on to appeal the merits of an ombudsman decision in court. A final decision by an ombudsman draws a line under the case - and brings finality to any further argument about the facts and merits involved.

Because we are a public body - providing a service to the public - we can be "judicially reviewed" by the courts. But a judicial review will generally focus on the way in which an ombudsman has arrived at a decision, not on the individual facts and merits of the dispute itself.

Simply disagreeing with the ombudsman is not generally considered grounds for judicial review. You would probably want to get your own legal advice before beginning judicial review proceedings.