The six year rule

The complaint

Mr T hired a solicitor to help with a personal injury claim. They made slow progress, didn’t respond when he asked for an update or leave messages, and every time he called, Mr T was unable to speak to his solicitor. He had no idea how his case was developing or what his next steps were, so he complained. The date was 14th March.

His solicitors responded in full on 4th April, accepting that at times they hadn’t replied to his calls, but argued that there had been no further issues with their service. If he was unhappy with their answer, they suggested he contacted the Legal Ombudsman within the next 6 months.

He did, but not until the 22nd November, 7 months after his solicitor’s final response.

Our response

The solicitor’s final response informed Mr T that he had six months to contact us, and included our contact details, meaning it was reasonable.

We dismissed Mr T’s complaint, because the solicitors had provided him with the information he needed, but he didn’t act in time.

We would only have been able to investigate if the firm hadn’t responded to Mr T’s complaint or hadn’t included the necessary information about how to raise a complaint with us in their final response.

Scheme rules

Our scheme rules say we can look at complaints if:

  • It happened within six years of the problem happening;
  • It happened within three years from when you found out about it;
  • You refer your complaint to us within six months of your service provider’s final response.