The Legal Ombudsman has launched a consultation into changes to its scheme rules which would be necessary for it to become an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) entity. The consultation will run for eight weeks, until 2 November.
Making these changes would enable it to apply to the Legal Services Board (LSB) for certification as an ADR entity.
An earlier application for certification was withdrawn last week after the Office for Legal Complaints – the Legal Ombudsman’s Board – made the decision that a fuller consultation should take place before it decided how to proceed.
Interim Chief Ombudsman, Kathryn King, commented: “The OLC believes it would be in the interests of both the legal and claims management sectors and consumers that we become an ADR entity. However, it is keen to consider all views before reaching a decision about this.”
The ombudsman is also hosting a consultation event for key stakeholders to provide them with an opportunity to discuss proposals face to face.
The OLC will consider the responses received at its December Board meeting. Its decision will be announced shortly after.
The consultation can be accessed here: http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/?portfolio=proposed-adr-scheme-rules-published-for-consultation
EU legislation requires all businesses to signpost consumers to an alternative route to obtaining redress if they are not happy with services or goods they have purchased. However, the Legal Ombudsman does not currently comply with the regulations that apply to ADR entities, and would need to make changes to its scheme rules in order to do so.
Providers of regulated legal services and claims management companies are already required to signpost to the Legal Ombudsman and this will continue.