Raising procedural issues with our Procedural Officer

If you are a party involved in one of our Competition Act 1998 cases, you can raise procedural issues that you have not been able to resolve with the case team or case sponsor responsible for the investigation with our Procedural Officer.

The Procedural Officer is independent from our investigations, case teams and decision makers. The role of the Procedural Officer is to ensure that procedural issues are addressed quickly, efficiently and cost effectively.

What the Procedural Officer does

The Procedural Officer may consider complaints that relate to:

  • deadlines for parties to respond to information requests, submit non-confidential versions of documents or to submit written representations on the Statement of Objections or Supplementary Statement of Objections
  • requests for particular treatment of confidential information in documents on our case file, in a Statement of Objections or in a final decision
  • requests for disclosure or non-disclosure of certain documents on our case file
  • issues relating to oral hearings, eg the date of the hearing
  • other significant procedural issues that may arise during the course of an investigation

The Procedural Officer is not able to review our decisions beyond those listed above, eg decisions on the scope of requests for information or decisions relating to the substance of a case.

The Procedural Officer will also chair any oral hearing and prepare a report assessing its fairness. They will not otherwise be involved in the investigation.

Applications to the Procedural Officer

The Procedural Officer is involved only at the request of a party or third party to an investigation and only after the party has been unable to resolve the issue with the case sponsor responsible for the investigation.

A party wishing to refer an issue to the Procedural Officer needs to make an application within five working days of being notified of the case sponsor’s decision on the issue in question.

The application should be no longer than three sides of A4 paper and should include:

  • the name and contact details of the applicant
  • the name and contact details of lawyers acting for the applicant (where applicable)
  • the FCA case name and reference number
  • the date of the determination of the issue by the case sponsor responsible for the investigation
  • a short summary of the issue in question, including a summary of the case team’s original decision (where relevant), the decision of the case sponsor responsible for the investigation, the reason that the applicant is applying for a review of that decision and the outcome that the applicant is seeking

The application must include copies of relevant correspondence between the applicant and the FCA relating to the issue in question and copies of any relevant information or documents where these are in the applicant’s possession. If the applicant has concerns about providing this information to the Procedural Officer, they should raise these concerns with the Procedural Officer before submitting the application.

On receipt of an application, the Procedural Officer will provide an opportunity for the case team and the party to present their arguments by telephone or in person before issuing a decision.

Making an application

If you wish to apply to the Procedural Officer, you should make an application by email to [email protected] with a hard copy also sent by post to: David Saunders, Procedural Officer, Financial Conduct Authority, 25 The North Colonnade, London E14 5HS.

The process for each application will be indicated when the application is acknowledged.

If the Procedural Officer is unable personally to consider the application, the applicant will be informed of any alternative arrangements put in place.

Procedural Officer decisions in Competition Act investigations

The Procedural Officer will deal with the application as quickly as possible. The Procedural Officer will reach a decision within 20 working days from receipt of the application, however in most cases decisions will be taken within 10 working days from receipt of the application. This timeframe can be extended by no more than 20 working days if there are special reasons to do so.

The Procedural Officer’s decision will be binding on our case team. The Procedural Officer’s decision, or a summary of it, will be published on our website, generally at the time the decision is made by the Procedural Officer or at the end of the our investigation. Publication will be subject to redaction of confidential information.

About the Procedural Officer

Our Procedural Officer is David Saunders. Before joining us, David worked for over 35 years as a civil servant. David was head of consumer and competition policy at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) for 4 years, which included responsibility for consumer credit policy, before becoming the chief executive of the Competition Commission (CC) in early 2009. He retired from the CC in March 2014 and is a senior advisor at Europe Economics and the FCA.