Sampson: early signs are positive

The names of 1,617 law firms and barristers who have been the subject of a formal decision by the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) are now in the public domain.

But there are positive signs for the legal profession in how few have recorded even five formal decisions – with just 28 practices reaching that number, which in itself is a very low bar.

The list of firms subject to a formal decision has now been updated twice since it was first published last September, when an initial 772 firms were included.

The 1,617 (including around 100 barristers) generated 2,224 decisions between them, a large number of which led to LeO not ordering any remedy, meaning they had handled the complaint properly. Of the 28, most were responsible for fewer than 10, with just two involved in more than 20 decisions.

By contrast, the Financial Ombudsman Service received 180,679 complaints in the last three months of 2012 alone, of which 43% were resolved in favour of the consumer.

Chief Ombudsman Adam Sampson said: “It will take some time for our decisions data to build up sufficiently that people can observe certain trends or make assertions about particular firms.

“However, early signs are that the number of firms with a high volume of complaints against them is very low. This is obviously a positive for the legal sector as a whole. Hopefully this trend will continue as more data is published.”

The two firms with more than 20 decisions are, unsurprisingly, both volume providers of consumer law services and even then remedies were not ordered in the majority of cases.


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