Complaints against solicitors.
The legal complaints service is changing yet again. Since I have been a solicitor the complaints procedure seems to have been regularly changed every few years, and the seemingly endless stream of names and organisations is confusing to say the least of it. None of them have been very popular.
Most recently it was the Legal Complaints Services. However from 6 October the official body will be the Legal Ombudsman.
From looking at the web-site, the description of the service seems encouraging. We are told that it is an impartial service which will attempt to deal fairly with both sides. It is also going to deal with complaints against all legal practitioners and be a one-stop-shop, which sounds sensible. In its own words:
the Legal Ombudsman can consider complaints about legal services provided by the full range of legal practitioners registered in England and Wales – from solicitors to barristers. We are bringing all legal service complaint handling under one roof for the first time.
However if you are unhappy about your solicitors’ service, before going to the Ombudsman, you should try to resolve it first direct with the firm. All firms should have a complaints procedure which can be provided to you on request.
If you don’t know what to do though, you can always ring the Ombudsman for advice. Their telephone number is 0300 555 0333.
The Chief Ombudsman is called Adam Sampson (pictured above) and he sounds a cheery fellow. Care has obviously been taken to make the Ombudsman web site seem friendly, with stories and FAQ. Mr Sampson even writes a blog (although I notice that it does not accept comments).
I hope that the new Ombudsman service will prove better able to deal with complaints against lawyers than its predecessors. I wish it all the best.
To find out more, visit the web-site.