Mis-selling of interest rate hedging products (IRHPs) by lenders has caused acute financial pain to a great many businesses and individuals and, as one High Court case shows, you should contact us immediately if you have the slightest suspicion that you may be among the legion of victims.
In 2002 and 2004, a bank lent more than £6 million to two property companies in the same group on condition that they enter into IRHPs. Falling interest rates meant that the IRHPs represented a very bad bargain for the companies, which suffered severe financial difficulties as a result. By January 2012, however, the cost of breaking free from the IRHPs stood at more than £500,000.
The companies launched proceedings against the bank in 2016, claiming a total sum in damages of approximately £48.3 million for the losses they had suffered as a result of the IRHPs having been mis-sold to them. They alleged, amongst other things, that the bank had been negligent in giving flawed advice as to how the break costs would be calculated and on the availability of other hedging products.
In dismissing the companies' claims, however, the Court invoked the three-year time limit rule that applies to negligence claims by operation of the Limitation Act 1980 and held that the proceedings had been launched too late. The Court found that the companies had actual knowledge that they might have a viable claim against the bank by the middle of 2012. Summary judgment was entered in the bank's favour.