No insult to injury: PI lawyers less in the complaints firing line

Complaints against convey-ancers are on the rise, but complaints against personal injury (PI) lawyers have fallen dramatically, figures from the Legal Complaints Service (LCS) have shown.

The LCS’s board heard this week that the service has been receiving an average of 274 complaints against conveyancers a month for the first four months of 2010, against an average of 246 for the whole of 2009, when there was a fall as compared to the year before. The LCS received an average of 253 complaints a month against PI lawyers in 2009, but that is down to 150 this year.

The five fields of law which generate the most complaints are: residential conveyancing (23% of complaints), general civil (14%), probate (13%), PI (12%) and matrimonial (9%). Overall the number of complaints received this year is running at about 2.5% lower than the 1,152 received on average every month of last year.

Meanwhile, the board was told that the LCS is set to have fewer cases than expected on its books at the time the Legal Ombudsman service opens to take on all new cases. The LCS will then go into run-off and the plan is to have no more than 2,700 cases still to be resolved by the end of the year (although the ombudsman is now hoping to open in October). The business plan estimated that there should be 2,967 open files at the end of April, when in fact there were 2,827. “This was due to a continued high level of in-house closures,” said the report by LCS chief executive Deborah Evans.

Further, the LCS continues to meet all of its main performance targets, despite staff levels continuing to fall as it heads towards closure. At the end of April there were 272 staff in post, against a full complement of 382.


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