Investigation & Adjudication

If mediation is refused or unsuccessful,

the Arbiter will start reviewing your complaint. You will receive a notification inviting you to a first hearing of the complaint by the Arbiter. This is by appointment and no re-scheduling would be allowed.

A case brought in front of the Arbiter for review and adjudication requires at least one hearing.

Hearings are normally held in person at our offices in Floriana (Malta) or via telephone conferencing. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have temporarily suspended "in-person" hearings. Instead, hearings are being held via Zoom, a video-conferencing application.  Further information will be provided at the opportune time.

The powers of the Arbiter to review complaints are extensive. The Arbiter may request witnesses to testify, request third parties to provide relevant information that may be required as part of the review, and even carry out inspections at the premises of a provider.

Exchange of documentation

All the parties to the complaint will be given the opportunity to make oral or written submissions as guided by the Arbiter. Witnesses may be required to testify, and third parties may be required to provide information. 

Information and documentation received by the Arbiter by one party are exchanged with the other party in the complaint. 


Once the period of document submissions ends, the case is put for a decision by the Arbiter. Each case is decided on its individual merits.

The Arbiter is empowered to adjudicate and resolve disputes and, where appropriate, make awards up to €250,000, together with any additional sum for interest due and other costs, to each complainant for claims arising from the same conduct. The Arbiter may, if he considers that fair compensation requires payment of a larger amount than such award, recommend that the financial services provider pay the complainant the balance, but such recommendation shall not be binding on the service provider. 

The Arbiter's decisions are made in writing. The parties to the complaint are notified a few days in advance of the date when the Arbiter will deliver the decision.  

Decisions are binding on both parties, subject only to appeal to the Court of Appeal (Inferior Jurisdiction) [see below].


Decisions of the Arbiter

  • May be upheld in full or in part, or rejected. Where decisions are upheld (in full or in part), the Arbiter may direct the financial services provider to do one or more of the following: 

     (a) review, rectify, mitigate or change the conduct complained of or its consequences;

     (b) provide  reasons  or  explanations  for  that conduct; 

     (c) change a practice relating to that conduct;

     (d) pay an amount of compensation for any loss of capital or income or damages suffered by
          the complainant, with or without interest;

     (e) specify the period within which the direction is  to  be  carried  out  by  the  financial  service provider;

  • Will include a reference as to who shall bear the costs of the proceedings and in what proportion, according to the circumstances of the case;

  • Are binding on both parties. Within 15 days from the delivery of a decision, either party can request the Arbiter to clarify or correct any computation, clerical, typographical, or similar errors found in the decision;

  • May be appealed by either party to the complaint. Appeals are lodged with the Court of Appeal (Inferior Jurisdiction)  within 20 days from the date when the decision is notified to the parties or, in the event that a request for clarification or correction of a decision, from the date when such interpretation or clarification or correction made by the Arbiter is notified to the parties;

  • Are published on the OAFS' portal. The complainant’s name and surname are replaced with unrelated alphabetical references.  The Arbiter's decisions may be accessed at this link. 

The Office of the Arbiter for Financial Services is not involved in the appeal process. If your case is appealed, please seek professional advice.