If a complaint is upheld or partly upheld we will usually tell the people at fault what they need to do to put things right.

We may direct them to pay a sum of money or to take certain action within a specified period. They have to comply unless they successfully appeal the determination in court.

If the Ombudsman’s directions have not been followed you can take action to enforce them. You will need to do this as we do not have the power to enforce Ombudsman determinations.

If a determination has been appealed

If an appeal is pending the respondent may apply to the court for an Ombudsman’s determination to be stayed. In Scotland the equivalent term is sisted.

This means that it is put on hold until the outcome of the appeal is known and in the meantime the respondent does not have to comply with the Ombudsman’s directions. Whether or not the stay should be granted is for the court to decide.

How to enforce a determination

In England and Wales directions are enforced through the County Court. The appropriate hearing centre is the one nearest to the party who has not complied.

In Scotland enforcement is through the Sheriff Office. In Northern Ireland it may be through either the Enforcement of Judgments Office or the County Court, depending on the nature of an Ombudsman’s directions.

What you need to do

To start enforcement action you will need to provide the court with a certified copy of the determination. You can get this from the adjudicator who dealt with your case.

Go to useful contacts for a list of websites and information about enforcing an Ombudsman determination.