The time taken by the Legal Ombudsman to resolve cases increased over the summer, new figures have shown. The proportion of cases resolved within 90 days fell from 50% in June this year to 47% in July – against a target of 60%. This was caused by a “bulge” in cases being assessed.
The Legal Services Consumer Panel and the Legal Ombudsman are the latest organisations to come out against the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s proposal that practising solicitors be allowed to handle unreserved legal work for the public from unregulated firms.
The changing legal market means that anybody offering legal services – including unregulated providers – should have to offer some kind of access to the Legal Ombudsman, the chief ombudsman has said. Kathryn Stone said this would be “a much more coherent way for us to provide our service”.
A solicitor who oversaw “financial chaos” in his practice has been suspended, with a tribunal imposing conditions on his return to the profession in the future to ensure he does not hold a management position. He was also sanctioned for failing to co-operate with the Legal Ombudsman.
Lawyers are still failing in their regulatory duty to tell clients about the right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman (LeO), its research has found. When asked how they first heard about the scheme, only 20% of 3,680 consumers who had been in contact with the LeO said it was from their lawyer.
The High Court has rejected a solicitor’s appeal against a Legal Ombudsman order that he refund £34,000 of his £37,000 fee to a client he signed up to a contingency fee agreement. The ombudsman said the client had not been properly advised about the terms and effects of the agreement.
The Legal Ombudsman has exercised its “public interest” power under the Legal Services Act to name a claims management company responsible for a series of complaints. It is only the second time that the LeO’s board – the Office for Legal Complaints – has used the power.
High Court slaps barrister with civil restraint order over relentless challenges to disciplinary rulings
The High Court has issued a two-year civil restraint order against a barrister who has repeatedly and unsuccessfully challenged disciplinary findings made against him. The judge said he approached the task “with something of a heavy heart” given that it involved a member of the Bar.
People with complaints about claims management companies (CMCs) are more likely to receive a financial remedy from their credit card provider than the Legal Ombudsman, it has emerged. The most three most complained-about CMCs have since surrendered their authorisation, leaving questions about whether consumers actually receive the compensation ordered.
‘Named and shamed’ barrister Tariq Rehman has come top of the latest table of complaints about lawyers published by the Legal Ombudsman. He was subject to more complaints than the combined total recorded for the country’s two largest consumer law firms, Irwin Mitchell and Slater & Gordon.