Provisions are recognized if the Group has a present legal or constructive obligation as a result of past events, if it is probable that an outflow of resources will be required to settle the obligation, and a reliable estimate can be made of the amount of the obligation.
The amount recognized as a provision is the best estimate of the consideration required to settle the present obligation as of the balance sheet date, taking into account the risks and uncertainties surrounding the obligation.
If the effect of the time value of money is material, provisions are discounted and measured at the present value of the expenditure expected to be required to settle the obligation, using a pre-tax rate that reflects the current market assessments of the time value of money and the risks specific to the obligation. The increase in the provision due to the passage of time is recognized as interest expense.
When some or all of the economic benefits required to settle a provision are expected to be recovered from a third party (for example, because the obligation is covered by an insurance policy), an asset is recognized if it is virtually certain that reimbursement will be received.
Critical Accounting Estimates – The use of estimates is important in determining provisions for potential losses that may arise from litigation, regulatory proceedings and uncertain income tax positions. The Group estimates and provides for potential losses that may arise out of litigation, regulatory proceedings and uncertain income tax positions to the extent that such losses are probable and can be estimated, in accordance with IAS 37, “Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets” or IAS 12, “Income Taxes”, respectively. Significant judgment is required in making these estimates and the Group’s final liabilities may ultimately be materially different.
Contingencies in respect of legal matters are subject to many uncertainties and the outcome of individual matters is not predictable with assurance. Significant judgment is required in assessing probability and making estimates in respect of contingencies, and the Group’s final liability may ultimately be materially different. The Group’s total liability in respect of litigation, arbitration and regulatory proceedings is determined on a case-by-case basis and represents an estimate of probable losses after considering, among other factors, the progress of each case, the Group’s experience and the experience of others in similar cases, and the opinions and views of legal counsel. Predicting the outcome of the Group’s litigation matters is inherently difficult, particularly in cases in which claimants seek substantial or indeterminate damages. See Note 29 for information on the Group’s judicial, regulatory and arbitration proceedings.