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. We are not consumer champions or part of the legal profession, and we are also independent of Government. There is no cost to the taxpayer and our service is also free to use.
- • Our service is open to all members of the public, very small businesses, charities, clubs and trusts.
- • Our service is free to these consumers.
- • We can get involved in different types of complaints about legal services. Some examples are wills, family issues such as divorce, personal injury and buying or selling a house. There are many others.
- • We are independent and impartial. This means that when we start to receive complaints, we will look at the facts in each case and weigh both sides of the story.
- • We are not consumer champions or part of the legal profession, and we are also independent of Government.
- • If we decide the service you received was unsatisfactory, we can ask the lawyer and the firm to put it right. We may also say that we think that your lawyer provided a reasonable service – if we think this, we will explain why.
- • Most complaints can be resolved informally. If needed, we will carry out a formal investigation. As this could involve us getting more information from you and your lawyer, it could take longer to deal with.
- • Once an Ombudsman decision is accepted, we can make sure that the lawyer does do what we say is needed.
- • We don't have to investigate every complaint we receive, even if we have the power to do so. For example, we may decide not to investigate if we think the problem you have told us about has only had a slight impact on you.
- • Our help doesn't cover any disappointment you feel because you don't agree with the outcome of a court case.
- • We don't write the rules for lawyers or police them if the rules are broken. This is the job of the different legal regulators.
- • We are committed to ensuring value for money in how we run the Legal Ombudsman.
Everyone can access legal services in which they can have confidence.
Our mission and values
Our task is to run an independent ombudsman scheme that resolves complaints about lawyers in a fair and effective way, where we are shrewd and decisive when tackling complex issues and that is open so we can give focused feedback to help drive improvements to legal services.
The lawyers covered by this definition include:
- • Barristers - regulated by the Bar Standards Board.
- • Cost lawyers - regulated by the Cost Lawyers Standards Board.
- • Legal executives - regulated by the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives Professional Standards.
- • Licensed conveyancers - regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers.
- • Notaries - regulated by the Master of the Faculties
- • Patent attorneys and trade mark attorneys - regulated by the Intellectual Property Regulation Board.
- • Registered European lawyers – regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
- • Solicitors - regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
- • Generally also employees of these businesses and partnerships.
- • Buying and selling a house or property
- • Family law such as divorce
- • Will
- • Personal injury
- • Intellectual property
- • Criminal law
- • Civil litigation
- • Immigration
- • Employment issues
There are others that we may also be able to look at. If an area is not on the list then please contact us.