Legal Ombudsman | Dealing with complaints between consumers and their service..
The Legal Ombudsman for England and Wales was set up by the Office for Legal Complaints (our Board) under the Legal Services Act 2007. We are independent and impartial. This means that when we receive complaints, we will look at the facts in each case and weigh-up both sides of the story.
Today, the Legal Ombudsman has published its Business Plan and Budget for 2019-20.
This plan marks the final year of our 2017-2020 strategy. We are proud of the progress we’ve made against our strategic priorities over the last year and are excited to keep building on this work in 2019-20.
Today, the Legal Ombudsman is publishing its new Scheme Rules, which will take effect from Monday 1 April 2019. The changes reflect the transfer of complaints about claims management companies (CMCs) to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).
The updated version of the Scheme Rules approved was by the Legal Services Board in February 2019.
You can find a copy of the new Scheme Rules here. They will apply to all cases progressed to investigation on or after 1 April 2019.
Today, the Legal Ombudsman is publishing minor technical changes to its Scheme Rules for a period of representations, in compliance with Section 205 of the Legal Services Act 2007.
These changes are not substantive. They are made in recognition of the new provisions in the Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018, and are intended to become effective from 1 April 2019.
The period for representations will run for 4 weeks from 2-30 January. The Legal Ombudsman will consider all responses to the proposed changes, and welcomes the support of stakeholders to ensure that it any changes are reasonable.
Please note that responses should relate only to the changes cited in the paper. Wider consideration on the content of our Scheme Rules is not included in this current period of representations.
Please see this page on our website for a copy of the paper.
For more information on the transfer of CMC regulation and how this will affect the way we handle complaints about claims management companies, please see this factsheet.
Today, the Legal Ombudsman has published the consultation document on its 2019-20 Business Plan and Budget, which can be viewed here.
This business plan marks the final year of our wider 2017-2020 strategy. We are proud of the progress we’ve made against our strategic priorities over the last year and are excited to keep building on this work in 2019-20.
We have developed four new annual priorities for the next financial year:
Improve the quality of our work and develop dispute resolution skills
Build and maintain trust and confidence in LeO through consistently good performance
Maximise impact through more effective feedback of insight, data and targeted stakeholder engagement
Provide faster and more effective redress through a new website platform and digital service development
We welcome all stakeholders to submit their feedback on our 2019-20 Business Plan and Budget, to help us refine our work programme for the year ahead.
All responses should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by 12pm on 25 January, 2019.
We’ve launched an online self-service tool to give consumers a quicker way to discover whether their complaint can be handled immediately, or by another organisation; or is simply too early to be dealt with at this stage. Find out more in our press release or visit the assessment tool .
Our Chair, Wanda Goldwag has been interviewed as part of the Law Society City Conversations series. Hear her talking about our work with complaints, the importance of service and understanding consumers requirements and the importance of diversity throughout the profession.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and Legal Ombudsman (LeO) research into first tier complaints handling showed that there could be improvements in how some law firms deal with complaints. Nine out of ten firms see business benefit to dealing with complaints well, yet only a third of surveyed firms reported providing details on LeO to clients at the end of the complaints procedure, despite it being a regulatory requirement to do so.
We have refreshed our signposting guidance to support legal service providers in referring their customers to LeO at the time of engagement and again at the end of the complaints process.
This guidance includes why signposting is important, which stages of the complaints process it is required and suggested text to use.
The refreshed signposting guidance can be found here.
The research into the experiences and effectiveness of solicitors’ first tier complaints handling can be found here.
LeO accepted 7,527 legal complaints in the 2017-18 financial year. This rose from 7,223 in the previous year with residential conveyancing, personal injury, family law, wills and probate and litigation the most complained about areas of law.
In the claims management company jurisdiction, there were 1,212 complaints accepted, the majority of which related to financial products and services such as mis-sold payment protection insurance.
Wanda Goldwag, Chair of the OLC Board, said: “This has been an important year where we have laid the foundations for the future of the Legal Ombudsman. I look forward to working with the Legal Ombudsman team to use these changes to improve quality, delivery and performance.”
The report highlights that 2017-18 was a year of achievements and challenge. Successful implementation of the new cloud-based IT and telephony infrastructure, streamlined business processes and a flexible staffing model will now enable steady performance improvement in 2018-19.
Read the full Annual Report and Accounts 2016-17 here.