Legal Services Ombudsman

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In England and Wales, the Legal Services Ombudsman was a statutory officer that investigated allegations about the improper, ineffective or inefficient way that complaints about lawyers are handled by their respective self-regulating professional bodies. The Ombudsman is appointed by, and is answerable to, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice.[1] It has been abolished under the Legal Services Act 2007

The first Ombudsman was appointed to start work on 2 January 1991. During the first decade of operation, the office undertook 10,531 investigations:

Around 60% of the firms of solicitors in England and Wales and around 8% of practising barristers were subject of a complaint to the Ombudsman in that time.[2]


Powers[edit]

The Ombudsman could:[3]

  • Recommend that the professional body re-investigate a complaint;
  • Order the re-investigation;
  • Formally criticise the professional body;
  • Award compensation for distress or inconvenience.

There was also a power to re-investigate the original complaint but this is only used in exceptional circumstances.

Reform[edit]

With the passing of The Legal Services Act 2007 the Office of the Legal Services Ombudsman was abolished. It has been replaced by the Office for Legal Complaints.[4] This body goes by the public name Legal Ombudsman.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Courts and Legal Services Act 1990, ss.21-26/ Sch.3
  2. ^ "Annual Report 2000-2001: Reflecting Progress". Legal Services Ombudsman. 2001. Retrieved 2008-03-08. 
  3. ^ Courts and Legal Services Act 1990, s.23
  4. ^ Legal Services Act 2007, ss.114-159/ Sch.15

External links[edit]