Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A stunning victory?

"British banks win 'stunning' victory in landmark ruling on overdraft fees", says The Daily Telegraph, amongst the many media sources to comment on the ruling by our "Supreme" Court.

HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays and Lloyds are among seven lenders who had asked the Court to halt a challenge to their fees brought by the Office of Fair Trading, but there is more to the ruling than meets the eye.

According to the judgement handed down, the issue depended "on the correct interpretation (in its European context) and application of Regulation 6(2) of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 SI 1999/2083."

However, we then see that: "The 1999 Regulations were made under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972 in order to transpose into national law Council Directive 93/13/EEC on unfair terms in consumer contracts."

The "victory” then, is one for EU law – which completely goes against the grain of expectations. As for the "Supreme" court, all it was doing was interpreting the diktats of our masters in Brussels. But, as always, in none of the MSM accounts does one see any reference to this.

The Times rails that the "decision is bad for consumers and competition" but it does not tell us why it was made. The invisible "elephant in the room", as always, is positively thriving.

Thus we get Money Mail assistant editor James Coney lamenting "If OFT can't decide bank charges are unfair, who can?" The answer, of course, is "the EU stoopid". But we are not allowed to know this.