The Dame Linda Dobbs Review
Dame Linda Dobbs DBE has been appointed by Lloyds Banking Group ("LBG") to consider whether the issues relating to HBOS Reading were investigated and appropriately reported to authorities at the time by LBG, following its acquisition of HBOS.
The independent legal assessment will cover the period following HBOS’s acquisition by LBG, in January 2009, through to the conclusion of criminal proceedings commenced against six individuals in connection with the HBOS Reading fraud. In addition, the Review will examine relevant evidence from before 2009 in order to assess what LBG knew or should reasonably have known about what happened at HBOS Reading by the time of the acquisition.
Dame Linda's appointment was announced by LBG on 26 April 2017. LBG's announcement is available here.
I want to update witnesses and those affected by the HBOS Reading fraud about progress on my Review.
I had hoped that we would complete all the witness interviews by the middle of this year and that I would then be able to submit my report to Lloyds Banking Group as soon as possible after that.
Unfortunately, this has not proved possible. The interviewing process is now likely to run into the first quarter of next year. There are a number of reasons for this.
The COVID pandemic has inevitably affected the process and our ability to schedule interviews in a timely manner.
Unusually for an inquiry, we have been granted access to numerous documents covered by legal professional privilege, that is communications between lawyers and client which are protected by law (save in very limited circumstances) from disclosure. As the material is highly sensitive, the process for reviewing the documentation has been complicated, time consuming and has affected the scheduling of interviews.
The Dobbs Review is a non-statutory inquiry and I do not have powers to compel witnesses to give evidence. Furthermore, each witness is entitled to have legal representation. As such, interviews are necessarily scheduled taking into account the availability of the witness.
As I have explained before, I intend to include a detailed account in my report of the work involved in carrying out this inquiry, which I believe is one of the largest and most extensive of its kind.
However, I am fully aware that for those who were affected by the HBOS Reading fraud, the imperative is to have answers. Whilst I and my team are working to complete the Review as speedily as possible, we must ensure that we leave no stone unturned in the course of our inquiry.
Dame Linda Dobbs
Dame Linda will assess whether, between 19 January 2009 and 30 January 2017, information about issues relating to HBOS Reading which LBG knew, or should have known about through reasonable diligence, was properly investigated and appropriately reported to the relevant authorities. As part of this assessment, the Review will examine relevant evidence from before 2009 in order to assess what LBG knew or should reasonably have known about what happened at HBOS Reading by the time of the acquisition.
Further detail as to the Scope of the Review is available here.
To view a copy of the guide, click here.
The Review welcomes comment and submissions from interested parties. Evidence or information relevant to the inquiry should be submitted directly via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A copy of Dame Linda's announcement inviting submissions is available here.
A message from Dame Linda Dobbs to Witnesses - March 2020 can be found here.
LBG’s clear position is that anyone with relevant information can provide it to the Review. The confirmation letter is available here.
Dame Linda was the first non-white High Court judge to be appointed in the UK and before that she was a leading barrister and QC, specializing in fraud and white collar crime cases. Her professional biography is available here.
All media enquiries concerning the Review should be addressed to:
Peter Wilson-Smith +44 (0)20 7043 4604 or +44 (0)7979 526152
Jimmy Chen +44 (0)20 7043 4606 or +44 (0)7787 492922