Data and decisions for legal

We set ourselves high performance standards at the start of each year, which we report on as part of a commitment to continuous improvement.

In addition, we publish complaints data to ensure our work is transparent while using business intelligence to help raise standards across the legal sector.

Ombudsman decision data

Our Board, (the Office for Legal Complaints) is empowered to publish information on ombudsman decisions by the Legal Services Act 2007. Our Board has instructed the Legal Ombudsman to do this on its website. The information we publish is a simple and transparent record of decisions made by the Legal Ombudsman.

This approach is consistent with government policy which requires organisations such as ours to publish information of this type. It is also consistent with the approach taken by other Ombudsman schemes.

The data is published in accordance with our Publishing Decisions policy.

This policy statement summarises how we approach the publication of decisions, how we will use this information to raise standards and how we will monitor and review the publishing decisions policy.

Publishing Decisions policy statement

 

This data displays details of legal service providers that have received an ombudsman’s decision made between 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016.

View datatable View decisions data file (.csv)

Public interest cases

This is where you’ll find detailed reports on cases where there has been a pattern of complaints or set of individual circumstances that have resulted in an ombudsman decision(s) that indicate it is in the public interest that the service provider should be named.

Our Board decided to publish the names of these service providers following extensive consultation.

Please note that this data is from the Legal ombudsman records only. To find out more about service providers you will need to approach them directly or contact the relevant approved regulator.

Case summaries

  • Summary 1
    0

    Summary 1

    Area of law: Wills and probate Complaint reason(s): Failure to progress Remedy: £200 compensation for distress and inconvenience caused...

  • Summary 2
    0

    Summary 2

    Area of law: Wills and probate Complaint reason(s): Costs information deficient; costs excessive; failure to follow instructions; failure to...

  • Summary 3
    0

    Summary 3

    Area of law: Wills and probate Complaint reason(s): Failure to follow instructions Remedy: None – no poor service Outcome:...

  • Summary 5
    0

    Summary 5

    Area of law: Probate Complaint reason(s): Costs information deficient, costs excessive, failure to follow instructions Remedy: To pay compensation...

  • Summary 6
    0

    Summary 6

    Area of law: Wills and probate Complaint reason(s): Costs excessive, costs information deficient Remedy: No remedy Outcome: Ombudsman’s decision...

  • Summary 7
    1

    Summary 7

    Area of law: Will writing Complaint reason(s): Conduct, failure to follow instructions Remedy: No remedy Outcome: Ombudsman decision rejected...

  • Summary 8
    0

    Summary 8

    Area of law: Wills and probate Complaint reason(s): Costs excessive Remedy: Apologise, to pay compensation inconvenience/distress caused Outcome: Ombudsman...

  • Summary 9
    0

    Summary 9

    Area of law: Probate Complaint reason(s): Failure to advise, costs information deficient Remedy: No remedy Outcome: Ombudsman decision rejected...

  • Summary 10
    0

    Summary 10

    Area of law: Wills and probate Complaint reason(s): Delay, costs excessive, failure to advise, costs information deficient, failure to...

  • Summary 11
    0

    Summary 11

    Area of law: Wills and probate Complaint reason(s): Delay, failure to follow instructions, failure to keep informed Remedy: To...

  • Summary 12
    0

    Summary 12

    Area of law: Wills and probate Complaint reason(s): Conduct; costs excessive; cost information deficient Remedy: £100 compensation to each...

  • Summary 13
    2

    Summary 13

    Area of law: Wills and probate Complaint reason(s): Other (failure to accurately record a meeting) Remedy: None Outcome: Ombudsman...

  • Summary 14
    0

    Summary 14

    Area of law: Wills Complaint reason(s): Costs information deficient, Costs excessive, failure to advise Remedy: To apologise, to pay...

  • Summary 15
    0

    Summary 15

    Area of law: Wills (drafting) Complaint reason(s): Failure to keep papers safe Remedy: To pay £400 compensation Outcome: Ombudsman...

  • Summary 16
    0

    Summary 16

    Area of law: Wills (drafting) Complaint reason(s): Failure to follow instructions Remedy: No remedy Outcome: Ombudsman decision rejected by...

  • Summary  17
    0

    Summary 17

    Area of law: Will writing Complaint reason(s): Conduct; failure to follow instructions; Remedy: No remedy Outcome: Ombudsman decision rejected...

  • Summary 1
    0

    Summary 1

    Area of law: Personal injury Complaint reason(s): Costs information deficient, failure to keep informed, failure to follow instructions Remedy:...

  • Summary 2
    0

    Summary 2

    Area of law: Personal injury Complaint reason(s): Delay, failure to progress Remedy: No remedy Outcome: Ombudsman’s decision rejected by...

  • Summary 3
    3

    Summary 3

    Area of law: Personal injury Complaint reason(s): Failure to advise, failure to keep informed Remedy: To pay £50 compensation...

  • Summary 4
    1

    Summary 4

    Area of law: Personal injury Complaint reason(s): Failure to advise, failure to keep informed Remedy: No remedy Outcome: Ombudsman’s...

Our performance - KPIs 2016-17

Key performance indicators are quantifiable measures and targets that we use to demonstrate how effectively we are working, which ensure we are providing a high quality service to all our customers.

We publish our key performance indicators (KPI) on a quarterly and yearly basis. The five areas that our performance will be measured against are:

  • Timeliness
  • Quality
  • Cost
  • Reputation
  • Impact

We’re currently updating these, please check back soon.

Prompt payment performance

From April 2015, the Government’s Prompt Payment Policy requires departments to publicise, on a quarterly basis, the percentage of their invoices that have been paid within 5 and 30 days respectively.

From April 2016, it will also be a requirement that departments publish figures of all liable interest under the late payment legislation.

Financial year 2015/2016 Percentage of invoices paid within 5 days Percentage of invoices paid within 30 days Total amount of liable to pay (from April 2016)
Quarter 1 15% 91%
Quarter 2 12% 90%
Quarter 3 22% 92%
Quarter 4 20% 96% 0

 

Financial year 2016/2017 Percentage of invoices paid within 5 days Percentage of invoices paid within 30 days Total amount of liable to pay
Quarter 1 13% 95% 0
Quarter 2
Quarter 3
Quarter 4

Complaints data 2015-16

In this section you will find some data about complaints we have handled from 1 April 2015 – 31 March 2016. We collate and publish complaints data on an annual basis. The data is split into the categories listed below:

  • Who complained to us?
  • Which people or organisations made a complaint?
  • Who was complained about?
  • What were the complaints about by area of law?
  • What were the areas of law by regulator?
  • What were the complaints about?
  • What were the complaints about by regulator?
  • What was the remedy type?
  • What was the resolution method?

Click on the tabs below to view the data as graphs.

Please note: Certain historic data will be updated for cases which may be reopened for further investigation and reclosed at a later date. We do not restate previous quarter’s data to reflect this as the effect of this is not significant. We have updated our Case Management Systems during the 2013/14 period so the results are not directly comparable with previous publications. Where nets and other results do not sum to 100%, this may be due to multiple responses, computer rounding or the exclusion of don’t knows/not stated.

Who complained to us?

Under the Equality Act 2010, we are required to collate data about those individuals who have made a complaint. The data we collect is analysed to ensure that we do not have a negative effect on the different equality groups. We will report on this data on an annual basis. This data (shown below) is only for those individuals who provide this information to us so the sample size is smaller.

The graphs below show who has made a complaint by *ethnicity, *age, *religion, *gender, *sexual orientation and *impairment.

*Figures based on those who agreed to provide their Equality and Diversity information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here for the CSV version of this data, (document opens in a new window).

Which people or organisations made a complaint?

The graph below shows who has made a complaint, for example a trustee, beneficiary or member of the public. These categories are set out in the Legal Services Act 2007.

 

Click here for the CSV version of this data, (document opens in a new window).

Who was complained about?

The complaints we investigate are about a variety of lawyers who each have their own regulator; for example the Bar Standards Board, Solicitors Regulation Authority or Council for Licensed Conveyancers. The graph below shows the percentage of complaints we have received about lawyers under each regulator where we have received a complaint.

bar chart shwing what complaints were about

Click here for the CSV version of this data. (document opens in a new window).

What were the complaints about by area of law?

The graph below shows what the complaints we received were about by area of law; for example, whether people complained to the Legal Ombudsman about a family law issue, a personal injury matter or about a will.

You can see a quarterly breakdown for each sector in the CSV file.

graph showing what complaints were about by area of law

Click here for the CSV version of the data, (document opens in a new window).

What were the areas of law by regulator?

The table shows the number of complaints we received by area of law and regulator type, for example, whether people complained to the Legal Ombudsman about a family law issue, a personal injury matter or about a will.

Potential Misconduct Costs excessive Costs information deficient Data protection / breach of confidentiality Delay Discrimination Failure to advise Failure to follow instructions Failure to investigate complaint internally Failure to keep informed Failure to keep papers safe Failure to make reasonable adjustment Failure to progress Failure to release files or papers Failure to reply Other Potential misconduct Criminal activity Failure to comply with agreed remedy Grand Total
Commercial Conveyancing 0.00% 7.79% 11.04% 1.30% 11.69% 0.00% 21.43% 13.64% 3.25% 8.44% 1.95% 0.00% 6.49% 1.95% 7.79% 1.95% 1.30% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00%
Commercial law 1.89% 16.04% 14.15% 0.00% 7.55% 0.00% 18.87% 17.92% 2.83% 6.60% 0.00% 0.00% 6.60% 0.94% 3.77% 1.89% 0.94% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00%
Consumer Law 0.00% 15.38% 0.00% 0.00% 15.38% 0.00% 15.38% 23.08% 0.00% 15.38% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 7.69% 7.69% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00%
Crime 0.66% 4.47% 4.87% 0.92% 5.13% 0.13% 19.47% 25.00% 1.45% 8.16% 1.84% 0.00% 7.76% 6.45% 6.97% 5.00% 1.58% 0.13% 0.00% 100.00%
Employment Law 0.21% 10.95% 10.12% 1.03% 7.85% 0.41% 21.07% 15.50% 1.65% 7.64% 0.62% 0.00% 9.30% 1.45% 5.58% 5.58% 0.83% 0.00% 0.21% 100.00%
Family Law 0.38% 16.21% 11.26% 0.88% 8.68% 0.05% 16.59% 15.55% 1.48% 7.58% 1.15% 0.05% 8.24% 1.81% 5.11% 3.79% 1.15% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00%
Finances 1.72% 18.10% 12.93% 0.86% 9.48% 0.00% 18.97% 12.07% 0.00% 5.17% 1.72% 0.00% 11.21% 1.72% 4.31% 1.72% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00%
Immigration and Asylum 0.35% 7.30% 5.57% 0.52% 9.04% 0.00% 16.35% 15.30% 2.09% 9.57% 1.74% 0.00% 10.61% 5.57% 10.96% 2.78% 1.74% 0.00% 0.52% 100.00%
Litigation 0.08% 13.02% 11.54% 0.86% 7.48% 0.08% 16.21% 15.51% 1.87% 7.72% 0.62% 0.00% 9.90% 3.59% 6.08% 4.05% 1.33% 0.08% 0.00% 100.00%
Other 0.88% 8.77% 6.14% 0.29% 8.19% 0.29% 18.42% 15.20% 1.75% 8.19% 2.92% 0.00% 10.82% 4.68% 8.19% 3.51% 1.46% 0.00% 0.29% 100.00%
Personal Injury 0.45% 3.67% 4.57% 0.64% 14.76% 0.06% 14.11% 14.69% 2.13% 11.92% 0.97% 0.00% 15.40% 2.32% 8.70% 4.83% 0.52% 0.06% 0.19% 100.00%
Property 0.18% 9.89% 6.47% 0.18% 8.63% 0.36% 21.04% 18.88% 2.16% 6.65% 2.34% 0.00% 8.81% 3.42% 6.47% 2.52% 1.80% 0.00% 0.18% 100.00%
Residential Conveyancing 0.53% 5.00% 5.53% 0.53% 11.54% 0.00% 24.27% 16.76% 2.96% 8.00% 1.33% 0.00% 8.36% 2.08% 8.27% 3.80% 0.80% 0.09% 0.18% 100.00%
Social Welfare 0.86% 7.76% 9.48% 1.15% 9.77% 0.00% 15.23% 18.39% 2.87% 6.61% 0.86% 0.00% 8.62% 2.87% 10.92% 3.16% 1.44% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00%
Wills and Probate 0.65% 11.05% 7.91% 0.41% 13.35% 0.18% 12.05% 14.12% 2.36% 9.57% 2.19% 0.00% 9.86% 2.95% 7.50% 4.19% 1.30% 0.00% 0.35% 100.00%
Blank 0.00% 16.67% 8.33% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 16.67% 33.33% 0.00% 8.33% 0.00% 0.00% 8.33% 8.33% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00%
Grand total 0.47% 9.22% 7.78% 0.66% 10.33% 0.10% 17.70% 16.26% 2.14% 8.58% 1.40% 0.01% 9.80% 2.91% 7.35% 3.97% 1.12% 0.04% 0.16% 100.00%

 

Click here for the CSV version of the data table, (document opens in a new window).

What were the complaints about?

The table shows what the complaints were about by area of law, for example excessive costs or failure to advise.

Potential Misconduct Costs excessive Costs information deficient Data protection / breach of confidentiality Delay Discrimination Failure to advise Failure to follow instructions Failure to investigate complaint internally Failure to keep informed Failure to keep papers safe Failure to make reasonable adjustment Failure to progress Failure to release files or papers Failure to reply Other Potential misconduct Criminal activity Failure to comply with agreed remedy Grand Total
Commercial Conveyancing 0.00% 7.79% 11.04% 1.30% 11.69% 0.00% 21.43% 13.64% 3.25% 8.44% 1.95% 0.00% 6.49% 1.95% 7.79% 1.95% 1.30% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00%
Commercial law 1.89% 16.04% 14.15% 0.00% 7.55% 0.00% 18.87% 17.92% 2.83% 6.60% 0.00% 0.00% 6.60% 0.94% 3.77% 1.89% 0.94% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00%
Consumer Law 0.00% 15.38% 0.00% 0.00% 15.38% 0.00% 15.38% 23.08% 0.00% 15.38% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 7.69% 7.69% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00%
Crime 0.66% 4.47% 4.87% 0.92% 5.13% 0.13% 19.47% 25.00% 1.45% 8.16% 1.84% 0.00% 7.76% 6.45% 6.97% 5.00% 1.58% 0.13% 0.00% 100.00%
Employment Law 0.21% 10.95% 10.12% 1.03% 7.85% 0.41% 21.07% 15.50% 1.65% 7.64% 0.62% 0.00% 9.30% 1.45% 5.58% 5.58% 0.83% 0.00% 0.21% 100.00%
Family Law 0.38% 16.21% 11.26% 0.88% 8.68% 0.05% 16.59% 15.55% 1.48% 7.58% 1.15% 0.05% 8.24% 1.81% 5.11% 3.79% 1.15% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00%
Finances 1.72% 18.10% 12.93% 0.86% 9.48% 0.00% 18.97% 12.07% 0.00% 5.17% 1.72% 0.00% 11.21% 1.72% 4.31% 1.72% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00%
Immigration and Asylum 0.35% 7.30% 5.57% 0.52% 9.04% 0.00% 16.35% 15.30% 2.09% 9.57% 1.74% 0.00% 10.61% 5.57% 10.96% 2.78% 1.74% 0.00% 0.52% 100.00%
Litigation 0.08% 13.02% 11.54% 0.86% 7.48% 0.08% 16.21% 15.51% 1.87% 7.72% 0.62% 0.00% 9.90% 3.59% 6.08% 4.05% 1.33% 0.08% 0.00% 100.00%
Other 0.88% 8.77% 6.14% 0.29% 8.19% 0.29% 18.42% 15.20% 1.75% 8.19% 2.92% 0.00% 10.82% 4.68% 8.19% 3.51% 1.46% 0.00% 0.29% 100.00%
Personal Injury 0.45% 3.67% 4.57% 0.64% 14.76% 0.06% 14.11% 14.69% 2.13% 11.92% 0.97% 0.00% 15.40% 2.32% 8.70% 4.83% 0.52% 0.06% 0.19% 100.00%
Property 0.18% 9.89% 6.47% 0.18% 8.63% 0.36% 21.04% 18.88% 2.16% 6.65% 2.34% 0.00% 8.81% 3.42% 6.47% 2.52% 1.80% 0.00% 0.18% 100.00%
Residential Conveyancing 0.53% 5.00% 5.53% 0.53% 11.54% 0.00% 24.27% 16.76% 2.96% 8.00% 1.33% 0.00% 8.36% 2.08% 8.27% 3.80% 0.80% 0.09% 0.18% 100.00%
Social Welfare 0.86% 7.76% 9.48% 1.15% 9.77% 0.00% 15.23% 18.39% 2.87% 6.61% 0.86% 0.00% 8.62% 2.87% 10.92% 3.16% 1.44% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00%
Wills and Probate 0.65% 11.05% 7.91% 0.41% 13.35% 0.18% 12.05% 14.12% 2.36% 9.57% 2.19% 0.00% 9.86% 2.95% 7.50% 4.19% 1.30% 0.00% 0.35% 100.00%
Blank 0.00% 16.67% 8.33% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 16.67% 33.33% 0.00% 8.33% 0.00% 0.00% 8.33% 8.33% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00%
Grand total 0.47% 9.22% 7.78% 0.66% 10.33% 0.10% 17.70% 16.26% 2.14% 8.58% 1.40% 0.01% 9.80% 2.91% 7.35% 3.97% 1.12% 0.04% 0.16% 100.00%

 

Click here for the CSV version of the data table, (document opens in a new window).

What were the complaints about by regulator?

The table shows what the complaints were about by regulator type, for example excessive costs or failure to advise.

Conduct Costs excessive Costs information deficient Criminal activity Delay Failure to advise Failure to comply with agreed remedy Failure to investigate complaint internally Failure to follow instructions Failure to keep papers safe Failure to keep informed Failure to reply Failure to release files or papers Data protection Discrimination Failure to make reasonable adjustment Failure to progress Other Potential misconduct Grand Total
Bar Standards Board 0.58% 6.81% 3.31% 0.00% 4.47% 21.98% 0.58% 2.33% 24.32% 1.17% 5.45% 6.42% 1.17% 0.78% 0.19% 0.00% 11.28% 6.23% 2.92% 100.00%
Chartered institute of Legal Executives 0.00% 0.00% 33.33% 0.00% 0.00% 33.33% 0.00% 0.00% 33.33% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00%
Council for Licensed Conveyancers 1.07% 3.56% 6.41% 0.00% 13.17% 23.13% 0.00% 3.20% 13.17% 1.42% 9.96% 8.19% 1.42% 0.36% 0.00% 0.00% 8.54% 6.05% 0.36% 100.00%
Costs Lawyer Standards Board 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 20.00% 0.00% 20.00% 20.00% 20.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 20.00% 0.00% 100.00%
Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales 0.00% 25.00% 0.00% 0.00% 25.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 25.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 25.00% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00%
Solicitors Regulation Authority 0.45% 9.46% 8.00% 0.04% 10.53% 17.39% 0.14% 2.11% 15.95% 1.40% 8.70% 7.38% 3.02% 0.67% 0.10% 0.01% 9.77% 3.81% 1.06% 100.00%
The Notaries Society 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00%
Grand Total 0.47% 9.21% 7.77% 0.04% 10.33% 17.71% 0.16% 2.14% 16.25% 1.39% 8.59% 7.36% 2.91% 0.66% 0.10% 0.01% 9.80% 3.97% 1.12% 100.00%

 

Click here for the CSV version of the data table, (document opens in a new window).

What was the remedy type?

A remedy is what an ombudsman may tell a lawyer or law firm to do if they decide that they haven’t handled the original complaint in a satisfactory manner. Remedies can include the ombudsman giving instructions to issue an apology, give back documents, do more work to put things right, refund or reduce legal fees, or pay compensation.

The table shows the method of resolving complaints. For example, the ombudsman can instruct the lawyer or law firm to apologise to the person who complained, put things right, pay compensation or put things in place to make sure the problem does not happen again.

Informal Ombudsman Grand Total
Total % Total % Total %
No remedy 417 21.18% 1552 78.82% 1969 100.00%
Other 98 89.09% 12 10.91% 110 100.00%
To apologise 52 65.82% 27 34.18% 79 100.00%
To complete work for the complainant 68 95.77% 3 4.23% 71 100.00%
To improve procedures to prevent the problem happening again 4 80.00% 1 20.00% 5 100.00%
To limit fees to a specified amount 138 77.53% 40 22.47% 178 100.00%
To pay a specified amount for expenses the complainant incurred in pursuing the complaint. 30 81.08% 7 18.92% 37 100.00%
To pay compensation for emotional impact and/or disruption caused 685 56.56% 526 43.44% 1211 100.00%
To pay compensation of a specified amount for loss suffered 92 45.32% 111 54.68% 203 100.00%
To pay for someone else to complete the work 6 66.67% 3 33.33% 9 100.00%
To pay interest on compensation 0.00% 2 100.00% 2 100.00%
To pay interest on monies held 2 50.00% 2 50.00% 4 100.00%
To refund fees already paid 179 54.74% 148 45.26% 327 100.00%
To return papers 41 69.49% 18 30.51% 59 100.00%
To take (and pay for) any specified action in the interests of the complainant 13 46.43% 15 53.57% 28 100.00%
To waive unpaid fees 166 65.87% 86 34.13% 252 100.00%

 

Click here for the CSV version of the data table, (document opens in a new window).

What was the resolution method?

The table shows the resolution method by area of law. It shows how we resolved complaints; for example, if complaints were closed*, if they were resolved informally or went through to an ombudsman decision.

Closed Informal Ombudsman Total % Total
% Total % Total % Total
Commercial Conveyancing 28.74% 25 26.44% 23 44.83% 39 100.00% 87
Commercial law 41.27% 26 23.81% 15 34.92% 22 100.00% 63
Consumer Law 14.29% 1 28.57% 2 57.14% 4 100.00% 7
Crime 32.67% 147 13.78% 62 53.56% 241 100.00% 450
Employment Law 26.09% 66 24.51% 62 49.41% 125 100.00% 253
Family Law 26.44% 229 31.18% 270 42.38% 367 100.00% 866
Finances 30.26% 23 35.53% 27 34.21% 26 100.00% 76
Immigration and Asylum 25.74% 78 25.41% 77 48.84% 148 100.00% 303
Litigation 29.34% 191 21.97% 143 48.69% 317 100.00% 651
Other 30.73% 55 29.61% 53 39.66% 71 100.00% 179
Personal Injury 28.75% 228 39.22% 311 32.03% 254 100.00% 793
Property 28.62% 81 32.51% 92 38.87% 110 100.00% 283
Residential Conveyancing 28.21% 393 38.41% 535 33.38% 465 100.00% 1393
Social Welfare 23.60% 38 21.12% 34 55.28% 89 100.00% 161
Wills and Probate 28.80% 237 37.06% 305 34.14% 281 100.00% 823
(blank) 50.00% 3 33.33% 2 16.67% 1 100.00% 6
Grand Total 28.48% 1821 31.48% 2013 40.04% 2560 100.00% 6394

*Closed cases include:

  • Complaints that were withdrawn by the person who complained
  • The person that complained did not make any further contact despite our follow up
  • Complaints which are closed under our scheme rules. Our scheme rules set out the framework for how we resolve complaints about legal services.

Click here for the CSV version of the data table, (document opens in a new window).

How do we put things right?

We prefer to resolve complaints by brokering an agreement between the Service Provider and the complainant. Therefore, our investigators attempt to settle complaints as amicably as they can, while bringing both parties (both the lawyer and the client) to a swift and mutually beneficial resolution. We call this “informal resolution”.

Where an informal resolution cannot be reached, either party may ask an ombudsman to make a final decision. At this stage the resolution will be based less on resolving the complaint amicably and more on what is deemed fair and reasonable.

In 2015 – 2016 we have resolved 31% of complaints informally and the number of resolutions reached by ombudsman decision is 40% .

In the majority of cases it is the complainant who requests a decision by an ombudsman. This is consistent with some evidence from other ombudsman schemes that there has been an increase in complainants’ propensity to pursue their complaints as far as possible. It may also reflect an increase in the number of lawyers offering reasonable remedies at the first tier which, if true, is a positive development. Nevertheless, we will continue to work at brokering more informal resolutions moving forward.

In our view, these figures suggest that complainants do as well when accepting an investigator’s recommendation and opt for an informal resolution as they do when insisting on an ombudsman’s decision. While lawyers might be tempted to hold out for an ombudsman decision, they should factor in the additional time and resource they will have to put into managing the complaint and accept that the customer is likely to walk away feeling even less positive about their firm with the increased risk to their reputation that this entails.

This year:

  • 76.1% of ombudsman decisions resulted in a financial remedy of up to £299.
  • 12.5% of ombudsman decisions resulted in a financial remedy of between £300 and £999.
  • 7.4% of ombudsman decisions resulted in a financial remedy of between £1000 and £4,999.
  • 1.0% of ombudsman decisions resulted in a financial resulted in a remedy between £15,000 and £20,000.

Please note: Certain historic data will be updated for cases which maybe reopened for further investigation and reclosed at a later date. As a result the total of each quarter may not match the total.

View 2014-15 data View 2013-14 data

Please note that on Thursday 11 August (Today) our phone lines will close at 4.30pm for essential maintenance. We apologise for any inconvenience.

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