The Office for Legal Complaints (OLC) has decided that it will not proceed with an application to become an ADR entity based on the changes to its scheme rules on which it consulted this Autumn.
It has decided instead to explore whether there is an alternative approach to operating as an ADR entity, such as introducing a parallel scheme or offering new “alternative” dispute resolution services that better mitigates the risk and issues it has identified, and that have been raised by stakeholders.
The OLC, the Legal Ombudsman’s board, made the decision after giving full consideration to the responses received to the consultation, which ran from September to November.
It further concluded that, given that the organisation’s key priority at present is to improve the efficiency and quality of its statutory scheme, it is not the right time to take on the additional risks and operational changes that would arise from proceeding with the scheme rules changes as proposed.
Chair Steve Green said: “We are grateful to all the stakeholders who responded to the application. These responses have enabled us to give full and thorough consideration to how we should proceed.
“We are not giving up the ambition to become an ADR entity but we do want to explore alternative approaches to doing so. We will do this over the next six months.”
The OLC also confirmed that the Legal Ombudsman scheme will ordinarily accept complaints that have first been considered by an ADR entity, where they are otherwise within the Ombudsman scheme. Further guidance on this will follow.