Complaints


If you are unhappy with the service provided by your lawyer, you must first try to resolve the problem with the lawyer or firm concerned. If this is not successful, the Legal Ombudsman handles complaints about poor service provided by lawyers.

The Panel has carried out the first independent benchmarking report into the complaints handling performance of the Legal Ombudsman. We measured performance in four areas: caseload, timeliness, quality and cost. You can access the report below.

The Legal Ombudsman and the Legal Services Consumer Panel also jointly commissioned a report by YouGov into consumer experiences of the legal services market. This explores challenges and barriers faced by consumers during the complaints process in two ways by:

  • Investigating consumer experiences of ‘first-tier’ complaints to lawyers, and
  • Exploring key drivers for premature complaints to the Legal Ombudsman.

One of our priorities is the issue of complaints that are excluded when the person affected by the lawyer’s actions is not the client. These are known as third party complaints and our report on this can be found below.The Panel was recently invited to visit the Legal Ombudsman’s offices to examine cases which they were unable to accept and in September 2013 we published a selection of these case studies. The Legal Ombudsman has agreed to set up a steering group to look at this further.

The Legal Ombudsman now publishes the names of lawyers in cases involving formal ombudsman decisions. This is something we have been asking them to do for a long time. Our consultation responses on this issue, and independent research which we commissioned jointly with the Legal Ombudsman, can be found below.

Key documents


Date:
05 June 2014

Title:
Remapping consumer redress (pdf, 444kb)

Description:
Submission to the BIS call for evidence on implementing the ADR Directive


Date:
05 June 2014

Title:
BIS consultation on Implementing the ADR Directive (pdf, 160kb)

Description:
The Panel responds to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on implementing the ADR Directive


Date:
28 January 2014

Title:
LeO Strategy and budget 2014-17 (pdf, 80kb)

Description:
Response to the Legal Ombudsman consultation on their strategy and budget 2014-17


Date:
18 December 2013

Title:
Are Ombudsmen ready for the future? (pdf, 119kb)

Description:
Note of Consumer Panel seminar with UCL


Date:
5 December 2013

Title:
Benchmarking the Legal Ombudsman updated (pdf, 892kb)

Description:
The Panel publishes the first independent benchmarking report into the Legal Ombudsman’s complaints handling performance


Date:
30 September 2013

Title:
Response to Legal Ombudsman consultation on widening the scope of redress (pdf, 135kb)

Description:
The Panel’s response to the consultation on access to redress for legal and other professional services welcomes the proposal to create a voluntary scheme


Date:
24 September 2013

Title:
Third party complaints case studies (pdf, 244kb)

Description:
These case studies are based on real complaints which had to be turned away by the Legal Ombudsman and will help to inform the steering group on third party complaints


Date:
11 October 2012

Title:
Consumer Experience of Complaint Handling – Executive Summary (pdf, 752kb)

Description:
Executive summary of the two reports on consumer experience of complaint handling


Date:
11 October 2012

Title:
Consumer Experience of Complaint Handling – First-Tier Complainants (pdf, 1.7MB)

Description:
This report investigates the consumer experience of ‘first-tier’ complaints to lawyers


Date:
11 October 2012

Title:
Consumer Experience of Complaint Handling – Premature Complainants (pdf, 2MB)

Description:
This report explores why consumers make premature complaints to the Legal Ombudsman


Date:
13 June 2012

Title:
Consumer Panel responds to LeO consultation on scheme rules (pdf, 140kb)

Description:
Response to the Legal Ombudsman’s consultation on review of the scheme rules and case fee structure


Date:
7 June 2012

Title:
Third party complaints (pdf, 298kb)

Description:
A report on giving non-clients access to the Legal Ombudsman


Date:
7 November 2011

Title:
Panel reacts to Legal Ombudsman publishing complaints announcement (pdf, 130kb)

Description:
Press comment on the Legal Ombudsman’s announcment to publish the names of lawyers who provide poor service on a quarterly basis from July 2012


Date:
28 June 2011

Title:
LeO – Publishing our decisions (pdf, 107kb)

Description:
Response to the Legal Ombudsman’s second consultation on publishing decisions


Date:
31 March 2011

Title:
Panel reaction to Legal Ombudsman publishing complaints announcement (pdf, 112kb)

Description:
Press comment on the Legal Ombudsman’s announcement to delay a decision about whether to identify law firms subject to complaints


Date:
1 March 2011

Title:
Panel comments on the LSB’s First-tier complaint handling report [external link]

Description:
Press comment on the Legal Services Board’s report on the implementation of its first-tier complaint handling rule


Date:
24 February 2011

Title:
Public backs publishing complaints decisions (pdf, 114kb)

Description:
Press release on findings of consumer research into whether the Legal Ombudsman should identify law firms subject to complaints


Date:
24 February 2011

Title:
Identifying law firms subject to consumer complaints to the Legal Ombudsman (pdf, 750kb)

Description:
AIMR report on consumer perceptions of publishing names of lawyers subject to complaints


Date:
21 December 2010

Title:
Consumer Panel urges Legal Ombudsman to identify lawyers when publishing decisions (pdf, 89kb)

Description:
Press release alongside response to Legal Ombudsman discussion paper on publishing decisions


Date:
21 December 2010

Title:
LeO – Publishing Decisions (pdf, 163kb)

Description:
Response to the Legal Ombudsman’s first stage consultation on publishing their decisions


Date:
26 February 2010

Title:
LSB – First Tier Complaint handling (pdf, 99kb)

Description:
Response to Legal Services Board letter to approved regulators on a draft rule related to first-tier complaint handling


Date:
15 January 2010

Title:
Latest moves by the OLC (pdf, 94kb)

Description:
Response to a letter from the Office for Legal Complaints about its proposed arrangements for the transition period in the lead up to the Legal Ombudsman starting work


Date:
2 December 2009

Title:
Draft Scheme Rules (pdf, 135kb)

Description:

Response to the Office for Legal Complaints about the scheme rules that the Legal Ombudsman will use when handling complaints


Date:
13 November 2009

Title:
Case Fee (pdf, 107kb)

Description:
Response to the Office for Legal Complaints about the use of case fees to fund the operation of the Legal Ombudsman