The Legal Ombudsman is to focus on improving the quality of its decision making as its caseload falls from 8,000 to a predicted 7,400 in 2019-20. But delays continue to dog the service.
The Legal Ombudsman is to explore publishing its full decisions on complaints against lawyers, rather than just brief details as now, it has emerged.
The Legal Ombudsman will finally be able to look the profession in the eye again next year when it clears the backlog of complaints, its chair has said.
The Legal Ombudsman has urged law firms that use web-based email such as AOL and Hotmail to invest in a more secure corporate email solution or risk paying out to victims of cybercrime.
The Legal Ombudsman badly missed its targets over the last year following an unexpected surge in complex complaints against lawyers.
Law firms will have to publish their prices for a range of consumer and business services, the Solicitors Regulation Authority has decided, but they will not have to put their complaints records in the public domain. It comes alongside research showing consumers particularly wanted information on price and quality before choosing a lawyer.
Lawyers are getting better at handling complaints, meaning that those reaching the Legal Ombudsman are becoming more complex and costly, the organisation said last week in part justification for an increase in its budget for the second year running.
The Office for Legal Complaints – the body that oversees the Legal Ombudsman – has exercised for only the second time its power to name “in the public interest” an organisation responsible for dozens of complaints and warned consumers not to use it.
The Legal Services Consumer Panel is on the hunt for a new chair after the incumbent jumped ship after just a year to become a member of the Office for Legal Complaints, the body that oversees the Legal Ombudsman. Meanwhile, the Law Society has named the members of its new main board, a key part of its new governance structure.
The Legal Ombudsman has ruled out investigating complaints about unregulated legal services, or collecting data about them, without a new source of funding. The service said it would be “inappropriate” to use money raised by a levy on the profession for this purpose.