‘Named and shamed’ barrister Tariq Rehman has come top of the latest table of complaints about lawyers published by the Legal Ombudsman (LeO).
The list, which covers ombudsman decisions for the year ending 31 March 2016, recorded 39 complaints against the immigration barrister – all of them upheld.
This is more than the combined total of 35 recorded for the country’s two largest consumer law firms, Irwin Mitchell and Slater & Gordon, many of whose complaints were not upheld.
Mr Rehman had two appeals against disciplinary decisions thrown out by the High Court last month, which also refused him permission to proceed with two judicial reviews.
Among the reasons given by LeO for upholding complaints against Mr Rehman were delay, failing to keep clients informed or to reply to them, failing to advise clients and deficient costs information.
Mr Rehman was also found to have failed to investigate complaints internally and comply with agreed remedies.
LeO ordered him to pay compensation ranging from £1,000 to £4,999 in 29 of the decisions against him. In nine cases sums of less than £1,000 were awarded to complainants, while in one the amount awarded was over £5,000.
Mr Rehman was the first and only lawyer to be ‘named and shamed’ by LeO in December 2014, after it upheld 25 complaints against him in the past two years. Compared to his more recent performance, that may now appear to be a modest total.
In contrast to the immigration barrister, only one of the total of 17 complaints recorded against Irwin Mitchell was upheld. LeO awarded compensation of up to £299 for a complaint relating to a property matter.
In the case of Slater & Gordon, seven out of 15 complaints were upheld by ombudsmen. A further three complaints were recorded against Slater Gordon Solutions, but none were upheld.
LeO made two significant compensation awards against S&G, both ranging from £1,000 to £4,999. One was for deficient costs information, the other failure to advise clients. Smaller awards were made for delay, failure to keep clients informed and failure to advise.
The most complained-about law firm still in business for the year ending 31 March 2016 was Bradford-based Allerton Kaye, with 14 complaints – all of them relating to immigration and asylum work.
All of the complaints, apart from one, were upheld. Compensation ranging from £1,000 to £4,999 was ordered in 10 cases.
A spokesman for the Solicitors Regulation Authority said the other leading law firm, Keppe & Partners, ceased to exist in September 2012.
Meanwhile, LeO continues to miss its performance targets, according to its latest figures. In April 2016, 43% of cases were dealt with inside 90 days, against a target of 60%, although it nearly hit the 90% target for cases completed within 180 days.