Our customers trust us to look after their personal information, and manage it securely and responsibly.

This page tells you what to expect when we collect your personal data. It's important that you take some time to read this.



Subject access request (SAR). To make a SAR complete this form.                Freedom of information (FOI). To make a FOI request complete this form.

Our role

The Legal Ombudsman (LeO), as a data controller, is mandated by data protection legislation to process personal and sensitive data safely and securely.

Under data protection legislation personal information we hold about individuals must be:

  • Used lawfully, fairly and in a transparent way.
  • Collected only for valid purposes that we have clearly explained and documented and not used in any way that is incompatible with those purposes.
  • Relevant to the purposes it was originally collected for and limited only to those purposes.
  • Accurate and kept up to date.
  • Kept only as long as necessary.
  • Kept securely.

We are registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to process personal and special categories of information under the Data Protection Act 2018.

Our registration number is Z1858613.

The Data Protection Act 2018, and GDPR

The Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2016, both set out the reasons why organisations are able to collect and process personal information. 

The Legal Ombudsman is obliged to identify the lawful basis in which we are processing individuals’ personal and special categories (sensitive) data.

The Legal Ombudsman is lawfully able to collect and process certain personal information on a legitimate interest basis for business purposes only, this  includes special categories of data provided to perform our duty.


Personal data means information relating to a natural (living) person or data subject, which can be used to identify the person, for example:

  • Name
  • Identification number
  • Social media posts
  • Location data
  • Online identifier.

Special category of personal data

This is information which is thought to be "extra sensitive" such as ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion.

Data controller 

This is the organisation that determines or decides the purposes, conditions, and means of the processing of personal data.


This means anything that is done to the personal data we hold.



The information below tells you why we collect information about you.

1. Service provision

What information we collect

To enable the Legal Ombudsman to investigate your complaint we collect detailed information from you about your case. This may be gathered through our online complaint checker, emails, equality and diversity form or other correspondence and information provided by a service provider in response to complaints. We will only ask for information to be shared with us that is considered relevant to your case.

The type of personal and supplementary information we gather includes your:

  • Name
  • Address
  • email
  • phone number
  • family matters
  • financial information
  • health information, depending on the nature of your case

We also record phone conversations you may have with the investigator or Ombudsman during the investigation process. These recordings will form part of your complaint case file.

This information can be held in a variety of formats, including paper records, electronically on computer systems, in video and audio files. Any paper records we receive are scanned onto our system and the original paper securely destroyed.

How we use your personal information

The information you share with us will mainly be used to talk to you about your complaint, investigate and share our findings with you and your service provider.

It is important to us that we provide a good service to all our customers and we conduct regular surveys (with an external research company) to understand your views on the service we have provided to you.

Your information is automatically added to the survey list. However, you have the right to withdraw your permission at any time. Please tell your investigator if you wish to do this or contact us at enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk.

Sometimes we may use information from your case, for example, if we want to highlight a type of complaint or provide feedback to the legal sector. If we use your data, we will ensure that the details of the case are anonymised and no personal details are included.

There will be times when we are under a legal duty to share information. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • disclosure under a court order
  • sharing with the Ministry of Justice for inspection purposes
  • sharing with the police for the prevention or detection of crime
  • where there is an overriding public interest to prevent abuse or serious harm to others
  • disclosure to a Regulator if we identify a situation of potential misconduct or if the information is requested

When we can and cannot share evidence:

When a complaint is brought to us, we contact the service provider and make them aware that a complaint has been filed against them. The personal details of the complainant are shared during this initial process.

We would usually share the evidence (that is relied on in our investigations) to be open and transparent, and fair to both our complainants and service providers. If evidence provided by either party has not been relied on, this would not be shared.

Occasionally we may decide not to share evidence that we have relied on. This may include circumstances where:

  • the document provided by the service provider is subject to a lien
  • there may be a legal rule or reason preventing the sharing of documents
  • documents identify third parties, we may need their consent
  • personal or confidential documents that the other party should not see, such as bank statements and personal statements.
  • one of the parties has asked us not to share their comments
  • information is sensitive and accepted in confidence (Scheme Rule 5.24)
  • legislation such as Data Protection Act 2018, UKGDPR, Legal Service Act 2007 does not permit disclosure.

How we look after your information

Your personal information is held in both paper and electronic formats, including: audio recordings, electronic databases etc. We hold these for specified periods of time as set out in the LeO’s Policy on the Retention and Disposal of Records.

If you submit information via the online complaint form:

  • Partially completed forms will be stored securely for 30 days after which they will be deleted if you have not returned to complete the form.

  • Completed forms which have been submitted to us online will be stored securely on the website for 30 days after which they will be deleted from the website.

  • We hold and process your information in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in conjunction with the Data Protection Act 2018 as explained above.

  • Whenever documents are sent through the post, these are scanned and posted by a third party processor commissioned by the Legal Ombudsman.
2. Service complaints

If you make a complaint about the service we have provided to you, the complaints and the details of it will be dealt with by our internal service complaints team in line with our process.

If you escalate it to the final stage then the information will be shared with an external complaints adjudicator.

3. Website

When someone visits www.legalombudsman.org.uk we use Google Analytics to collect some standard information and details on visitor behaviour patterns. We do this to find out things such as number of visitors to parts of the site.

We collect this in a way which does not identify anyone. We will not associate any data gathered with any personally identifying information. If we do want to collect personally identifiable information through our website, we will be up front about it.

We will make it clear when we collect personal information and will explain what we intend to do with it.

Use of cookies
Cookies are small text files that are placed on your computer by websites you visit. They are widely used to make websites work, or work more efficiently, as well as to provide information to owners of the site.

You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but certain functionality of our site will not work. To opt out of being tracked by Google Analytics across all websites visit http://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout.

Links to other websites
This privacy notice does not cover the links within this site linking to other websites. We encourage you to read the privacy statements on the other websites you visit.

Web chat
Communications from your web chat will be stored on the website server for 5 days, after which it will be deleted. The agent that you speak to at the time will also retain a copy of the webchat to make or add to your case file or complaint.

4. Events and publications

We run a regular programme of courses and events for the legal profession, as well as sharing information through a quarterly newsletter.

If you sign-up for one of these we will always be clear how we are going to use your information, and only use it for the services you have signed up to. We will also provide a way to opt out of these services.

5. Your rights

The Data Protection Act gives you certain rights, including the right to:

  • Request access to the personal data we hold about you, e.g. in complaint records (see "How to access your personal data" below).
  • Request the correction of inaccurate or incomplete information recorded in records, subject to certain safeguards.
  • Request your personal information to be transferred to other providers on certain occasions.
  • Object to the use of your personal information:

    • In certain circumstances you may have the right to "object" to processing (i.e. sharing) of your information where the sharing would be for a purpose other than the original one.
    • Challenge any decisions made without human intervention (automated decision making).
    • Ask us to restrict the use of your information where appropriate

We will always try to keep your information confidential and only share information when absolutely necessary. We have procedures to deal with any suspected data security breach and will notify you and any applicable regulator of a suspected breach where we are legally required to do so.

How to access your personal data

To access personal data we hold about you, please contact:

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)

This is the body that regulates the organisation under data protection and freedom of information legislation. 

If you are not satisfied with our response or believe we are not processing your personal data in accordance with the law you can complain to the ICO. 

  • Information Commissioner's Office 
    Wycliffe House 
    Water Lane 
    Cheshire, SK9 5AF 

    Contact information:
  • Telephone: 0303 123 1113 (local rate)
  • Telephone: 01625 545 745 (national rate)
  • Email: casework@ico.org.uk
  • Website: https://ico.org.uk/

Get in touch

If you need the privacy page or any other information in another language, please get in touch by emailing us at enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk  or calling us on: 0300 555 0333 or:

  • Calling from overseas: +44 121 245 3050
  • Text Relay (NGT Lite): 18001 0300 555 0333
  • Minicom text phone: 18002 0300 555 0333.