There are “clear benefits” in the Legal Services Consumer Panel remaining part of the Legal Services Board, the panel’s chair has argued. Elisabeth Davies said the status quo allowed the LSB and the approved regulators to “access consumer insight on tap”.
A solicitor who has failed to comply with a decision of the Legal Ombudsman and then a court order enforcing it is facing jail after she did not show up at the committal hearing. She has been given one final chance to explain herself or go to prison for 14 days.
The number of complaints against lawyers that reach the Legal Ombudsman has fallen to its lowest level since the organisation opened in 2010, its annual report has shown. Residential conveyancing, family, personal injury, wills and probate, and litigation were the most complained about areas of law.
Exclusive: LeO “frustrated” by lack of redress for clients of unregulated providers, says chief ombudsman
The Legal Ombudsman (LeO) is “some way off” handling complaints about unregulated legal services providers, the chief ombudsman has admitted. However, Kathryn Stone said it was “deeply frustrating” to LeO staff that consumers of unregulated services had no access to redress.
The Ministry of Justice has no intention of dropping its plans to separate the legal regulators from their representative bodies, it said yesterday as it unveiled reviews of how the Legal Services Board and Legal Ombudsman are operating.
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.