Area of law: Family law
Complaint reason(s): Failure to advise, delay
Remedy: To reduce fees, to pay compensation
Outcome: Ombudsman decision rejected by complainant
Ms H was going through a messy divorce. She instructed the firm to help finalise matters and to sort out a financial dispute with her husband.
Ms H was unhappy with a range of things the firm did, and didn’t do, when they were acting for her. This ranged from not returning some of her phone calls, to instructing a barrister that Ms H felt was under-qualified.
We carried out a detailed investigation and found that, on some counts, the firm’s service hadn’t been up to par. For example, we agreed that some calls and emails hadn’t been returned, there had been instances of delay and the firm had duplicated some work.
In other areas, we thought the firm had acted reasonably. We said that the firm had instructed a suitable barrister, provided adequate costs information and dealt with her complaint properly.
We noted that the firm had already offered to reduce its fees to try to resolve the complaint. The ombudsman decided that the firm should make a further reduction and pay £850 for the upset Ms H had experienced at an already stressful time. Ms H rejected the ombudsman’s decision.