To publish or not? LeO reopens debate on naming and shaming firms over complaints

Print This Post

By Legal Futures

6 September 2010


Good service: is publication the way to get lawyers to improve complaints-handling?

The controversial prospect of publishing law firms and chambers’ complaints records will be put firmly back on the agenda with a consultation by the Legal Ombudsman (LeO), Legal Futures can report.

The idea is supported by watchdog Consumer Focus, which has told LeO that it would both assist consumers in making an informed choice when selecting a lawyer, and may also incentivise lawyers to deal more effectively with complaints, placing the consumer at the heart of their service provision.

In 2008, the Legal Complaints Service explored the possibility of publishing complaints against solicitors but eventually abandoned it because of practical problems with a lack of resources and its IT, and also because LeO was on the horizon – however, in doing so the service was clear that it still supported the principle.

It had also faced strong opposition from the Law Society, which described publication as a “crude exercise in naming and shaming”, rather than in promoting good client care.

The consultation – which is likely to be published in the next month – will not take a position on publication, but will instead seek the views of both lawyers and consumers of the benefits and disadvantages. There will also be research undertaken with the Legal Services Consumer Panel to gauge public perception of complaints about legal services to provide context and to provide a baseline to measure against in future. Even if there is support for publication, there is then the question of how such information should be presented.

Tags: , ,



Leave a comment

* Denotes required field

All comments will be moderated before posting. Please see our Terms and Conditions

Legal Futures Blog

Lawyers must now draw on the data and drive change

Chris Marston 2014

The results from this year’s legal services consumer tracker survey make for interesting reading. In its sixth year, the research finds that a firm’s reputation continues to grow in importance, holding its top slot as the number one factor influencing choice of lawyer, with price remaining a strong second, reflected in a shift towards higher numbers of fixed-fee transactions. Alongside, it reports that trust in lawyers has declined to 42%, from 47% in 2012. It’s useful information as far as it goes, but what is the sector going to do with it?

September 26th, 2016