Hundreds of law firms have been sent details of the complaints information that the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) is set to publish about them, Legal Futures has learned.
LeO was meant to publish complaints data, naming individual firms, last month for the first time, but announced that it was delaying this to ensure the accuracy of the information and that it is presented in the most helpful way.
There remains no precise date of when LeO will now publish the information, with a spokesman only able to say that it is working towards doing it in the autumn. It will include around 900 decisions involving 750 firms. After that, publication will be on a quarterly basis.
The spokesman said: “What we have already done is sent each law firm a copy of any complaints information relating to them that we’re intending to publish. This is so they can check that the information is accurate and, if not, feed back to us so that we can correct it if required. We’re making sure that everything is watertight before committing to a publication date.”
This is the only occasion that firms will receive the information in advance. After the first quarter’s data is published, LeO will instead include details of information to be published in the any subsequent quarters in its closure letters following the resolution of each complaint, allowing it to check the accuracy of information on a case-by-case basis.
LeO is instituting a twin-track approach to publication. The quarterly information will be a table that summarises the number of ombudsman decisions each legal entity has been the subject of, what the outcome was (remedy or no remedy), and the area of law in each case.
Where there is a pattern of complaints, or circumstances where it is in the public interest to publish the details of a lawyer or law firm, LeO will publish this information, regardless of whether there has been an ombudsman decision.