There are signs that lawyers are getting better at handling complaints but also still failing to signpost their clients to the Legal Ombudsman, the chief ombudsman has said. Both could help explain why complaint volumes are lower than had been planned for.
The board of the Solicitors Regulation Authority this month moved to parity between solicitor and lay ordinary members, ahead of introducing a lay majority in two years’ time. Shamit Saggar, the former chairman of the Legal Complaints Service, joined the board this month as part of a deal with the Legal Services Board.
Poor communication between lawyers and their clients was “writ large” as a theme running throughout cases brought to the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) in its first six months, the chief ombudsman has reported. It launched nearly 4,000 investigations by the end of March, from more than 38,000 calls.
My latest blog on how slowly decisions are made in our new regulatory regime and how figures about the number of complaints against financial institutions put the debate over publishing law firms’ complaints records into a stark context, while it is time to bid farewell for good to the Legal Complaints Service.
Solicitors have repaid nearly £10m to miners who had sums wrongly deducted from their damages, Legal Futures can reveal. The Legal Complaints Service has now closed the last complaint arising from the miners compensation scandal ahead of its formal shut-down this month.
The outgoing Legal Services Ombudsman (LSO), Zahida Manzoor, is to hand over an estimated 600 cases awaiting investigation when her office closes at the beginning of next month, far more than previously thought.
The Legal Complaints Service (LCS) closed its doors to new complaints yesterday with 3,718 cases still live, its board heard today. The LCS was almost exactly on its projected work-in-progress figure for today, when the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) opened for business, with 2,340 ‘general’ complaints still outstanding. Almost all the other 1,378 open complaints relate to mining clients of one particular firm.
The Legal Ombudsman (LeO) today reopened the debate about whether the details of complaints against lawyers should be published, including their names, with a strong endorsement from the Legal Services Consumer Panel that they should. In a discussion paper that seeks views on how it should approach the publication of complaints data, LeO says a naming policy could benefit consumers and lawyers, but that there could be unintended negative consequences too.
With a month to go until the Legal Ombudsman opens for business, I went up to Birmingham last week to see how things are shaping up. So, how are the profession’s millions being spent?
So farewell (almost), Zahida Manzoor. Her final annual report after more than seven years as Legal Services Ombudsman is understandably reflective ahead of the post’s abolition on 6 October when the Office for Legal Complaints (OLC)/Legal Ombudsman (no, we’re not sure which to call it either) opens for business. Ms Manzoor deserves a chance to bask in the glow of her achievements.