The first lawyer to be ‘named and shamed’ by the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) for a series of complaints has argued that he is only “trying to adapt to new market forces”.
The High Court has ruled that a law firm cannot escape responsibility for handling complaints relating to a sole practice with which it merged. It said that as Kerman & Co had enjoyed the benefit and goodwill of the deal, it also had to accept the burden.
The Legal Ombudsman has introduced a policy for dealing with complaints about organisations which provide non-legal as well as legal services, such as some alternative business structures and, shortly, accountants who offer probate advice.
The Bar Standards (BSB) has promised to research “the need for other quality assurance schemes and/or accreditation schemes” so the public can have confidence in barristers.
Public awareness of the Legal Ombudsman is continuing to fall, while the number of dissatisfied clients who do not bother to complain is increasing, a survey has found.
Claims management companies will have to pay a separate ‘Lord Chancellor’s complaints fee’ of up to £40,000 on top of their annual regulation fee with the shift in complaints handling from the Ministry of Justice to the Legal Ombudsman.
The Legal Ombudsman (LeO) has suggested that conveyancers, rather than clients, should answer to HMRC when stamp duty payments fail to arrive.
The Legal Ombudsman’s plan to widen its jurisdiction will cause a “muddle”, the Institute of Professional Willwriters has warned, revealing that other ADR providers had indicated an intention to move into the sector themselves.
The Legal Ombudsman has won approval for changes to its rules that bring them more in line with the Financial Ombudsman Service and so equip it better to deal with alternative business structures like Co-operative Legal Services.
Thousands of law firms are set to contribute £1.4m to the Legal Ombudsman after the government confirmed that they will no longer be eligible for two ‘free’ complaints every year. Meanwhile, LeO has not ruled out entertaining complaints by third parties, such as against the opposing party’s lawyer.