Brennan v Natwest: Court refuses barrister’s request to sue over unfair bank charges

01 August 2007
Newly qualified barrister, Tom Brennan, will not be able to sue National Westminster Bank for damages caused by financial hardship due to the charges applied to his account, it has been decided by the City of London court.

Mr Brennan requested that he be allowed to sue Natwest for damages over what the Office of Fair Trading last year deemed unfair and unlawful bank charges, which would have marked the first time a bank was forced to justify its fees in court, but the court refused.

The overdraft charges of £2,548, which he accrued whilst studying for his barrister’s qualification, have already been repaid, and Natwest has already offered Mr Brennan £1,600 to settle the claim out of court.

He declined to accept the offer because he was seeking to create a test case by claiming his right to sue for aggravated damages such as economic harm and a damaged credit rating.

Despite the court’s refusal to allow Mr Brennan to sue, a test case has now been agreed upon by the Office of Fair Trading and the banks, in order to clarify the situation; by doing so, a precedent will be set by the court for future claims.

Learn about to reclaim unfair bank charges