Blog by Elisabeth Davies, Chair of the OLC

We rely on legal services at key times in our lives – whether it’s buying a home, dealing with bereavement, having issues at work, ending a marriage, or being involved in legal action. It’s because they matter so much that an effective Legal Ombudsman (LeO) matters. If something goes wrong, consumers and legal providers should have confidence it can be resolved fairly and as quickly as possible.  

Over recent years LeO has worked hard to build that confidence. It has transformed the way it works, so that half of complaints are resolved through early resolution, without the need for a formal investigation. Users and providers of legal services are having a substantially better experience when they’re relying on LeO’s help to move forward.   

Having put in place an interim strategy until the end of March 2024, the Office for Legal Complaints (OLC) is now consulting on a new strategy for LeO, which will run from 1 April 2024 to 31 March 2027. We’re also consulting on our Business Plan and Budget for 2024/25 – the first year of the new strategy. 

The OLC’s first proposed strategic objective speaks to our ambition that LeO provides a service that’s highly trusted by both users and providers of legal services – and leads the way in its approach to resolving complaints. It’s set in the context of what’s now a sustained increase in demand for LeO’s help. 

While recognising the substantial improvements LeO has already made to customers’ experience, we’re clear that there’s no room for complacency. By the end of the strategy period, we want to say with confidence that LeO is delivering an excellent experience for those relying on it. 

We’re also ambitious about establishing LeO as a constructive and strategic voice for improvement. LeO, in its impartial position, has a unique insight into how consumers and legal providers interact. This is our second strategic objective. 

To meet our ambition, we’ll need to do more with LeO’s data and insights – helping to influence and inform the regulatory framework and standards, working together with regulators and in alignment with the LSB. At the same time, it is important that the legal sector – and regulators in particular – are accountable for how they’re engaging with LeO’s insights to drive higher standards and better outcomes.  

We've already engaged widely with those representing both users and providers of legal services, as well as with the LSB – and are grateful for the open and constructive feedback we’ve received so far. 

We look forward to hearing as many additional perspectives as possible – both on this strategy and the 2024/25 business plan we’re publishing alongside it – to help inform the final strategy, plans and budget that we’ll publish before April 2024. 

LeO is now at a pivotal stage, and our consultation is vital in shaping its future.  

Find out more and have your say here