Summary 6

Summary 6

Area of law: Family law

Complaint reason(s): Failure to follow instructions

Remedy: To pay £300 compensation for any inconvenience or distress caused

Outcome: Ombudsman’s decision accepted by complainant

Mr K instructed the firm to act on his behalf in his divorce and financial matters. Following the court case, the judge ordered that Mr K pay £70,000 to his ex-wife. It was agreed that this should be expressed as 49% of the pension fund. Little did the judge know the confusion that this would cause!

When the transfer took place, £82,058 was transferred to Mr K’s ex-wife. Mr K hit the roof, and complained that the firm should have ensured that only £70,000 was transferred, as per the judge’s order.

The firm said that by the time the transfer took place, the value of the pension had increased, and therefore 49% of the pension, as stated in the order, was equal to £82,058.

While we agreed that the firm had followed the judge’s order, we did feel that they could have made it clearer to Mr K that the amount paid to his ex-wife could go up or down, depending on the value of his pension at the date of the transfer.

The ombudsman decided that the firm should pay Mr K £300 compensation, for failing to advise Mr K of the consequences of the order. Mr K accepted this offer, and the firm promptly sent over the payment.