16 WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM | FEB 2022 DELIVERING JUSTICE FOR SMEs What issues were identified by the Simon Walker Review that prompted the founding of the Business Banking Resolution Service (BBRS)? Walker conducted a comprehensive analysis of the scale and complexity of banking complaints from SMEs, particularly in the wake of the 2008-09 financial crisis. His Review was published in 2018 and focused on disputes that remain unresolved despite the SME raising a complaint with their bank yet may be unsuitable for court processes. Walker found that there was no evidence of “systemic malpractice” by banks during the crisis. However, he stated that “individuals and units within certain banks, responded to the crisis in an ad hoc manner which was sometimes unreasonable and panicked, occasionally reprehensible, and almost always distressing for those affected.” Walker made a number of recommendations on how to move forward, with particular emphasis given to the need for complaints to be reviewed on the basis of what is fair and reasonable in the circumstances. This is due in part to the fact that courts have often found banks not to have acted unlawfully. In response to the Walker Review, the seven UK banks operating in this market agreed four proposals. The creation of the BBRS addresses points two, three and four: 1. Support for the extension of the Delivering Justice for SMEs Alexandra Marks Chief Adjudicator Business Banking Resolution Service C/O Legalinx Limited, Tallis House, 2 Tallis Street, Temple, London, United Kingdom, EC4Y 0AB Tel: +44 0345 646 8825 E: email@example.com www.thebbrs.org Following the 2008 financial crisis, a wave of complaints was launched by SMEs against banks, many of which still remain unresolved. The Business Banking Resolution Service (BBRS) was recently established in response to this. In this feature, Lawyer Monthly hears from Alexandra Marks on the purpose of the BBRS and the organisations that may find its service relevant. Alexandra Marks has over 35 years of experience as a lawyer. For the past 15 years, she has sat as a part-time judge in the Crown Court, High Court and First-tier Tribunal. Before that, she was a partner at Linklaters and an accredited mediator. Alexandra is also deeply involved in human rights and social justice organisations. She was Chair of Amnesty International for 10 years and has been a Council Member of JUSTICE since the 1980s. The Business Banking Resolution Service (BBRS) is s a non-profit organisation set up to resolve disputes between eligible larger SMEs and participating banks. To find more information about the service and discover whether it could be relevant for clients, free resources can be found on the BBRS website or by emailing the organization at hello@ thebbrs.com.