Decisions made about legal service providers

We publish data on all complaints that have been resolved by an ombudsman’s final decision.

On this page you can view case summaries and information relating to final decisions made. On occasion, we also highlight concerns to the public about service providers as a public interest case.

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 1st July 2017 to 30th June 2018.

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.

Our performance - KPIs 2018-19

Key performance indicators are measures that we use to demonstrate how effectively we are working. This information is reviewed on a regular basis by our Management Team and the OLC and allows us to monitor the quality of service we provide to all our customers.

Our data is published on a quarterly basis and covers the following areas:

  • Customer experience and quality
  • Reputation and raising professional standards
  • Efficiency and resilience
  • People, leadership and culture

Further information about our KPI’s can also be found in our board reporting. The KPI data below is for the legal jurisdiction, and overall information for the Legal Ombudsman. Data on our CMC jurisdiction can be found here.

The Quarter one KPI figures for 2018/19 are now available. Use the tabs below to see our full range of KPI data.

Timeliness

We aim to resolve complaints quickly and fairly, achieving the right outcome based on the facts.

The time it takes to resolve a case depends both on the views of the parties to the complaint and the complexity of the issues involved. If a case can be resolved informally, it tends to take less time than if a longer investigation or an ombudsman’s decision is required.

We currently have two KPI’s to measure the timeliness of our work:

  • The first KPI measures all complaints under our legal jurisdiction.
  • The second KPI measures only those cases which have been accepted on our new case management system which was introduced in April 2018. The new system allows us to track the complexity of the case which is reflected in these KPIs.

[NB: There is no data for April as this was when the new CMS was introduced, and therefore there were no closures in the system during that month. Figures for 180 days and 365 days currently show 100% but will alter as the year progresses.]

KPI Measure April May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar
     1) % All legal cases concluded 26% within 90 days 11% 19% 20%
72% within 180 days 46% 45% 34%
90% within 365 days 96% 91% 90%

 

 

KPI Measure April May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar
2) % Legal cases concluded by complexity 60% within 90 days (low) 100% 100%
30% within 90 days (med) 100% 100%
0% within 90 days (high) 0% 0%
85% within 180 days (low) 100% 100%
80% within 180 days (med) 0% 0%
30% within 180 days (high) 100% 100%
99% within 365 days (low) 100% 100%
90% within 365 days (med) 100% 100%
85% within 365 days (high) 0% 0%

Customer satisfaction

Delivering a high-quality service is of fundamental importance to us. It is what matters most to our customers and stakeholders and we are committed to improving the standard and consistency of our work.

The first KPI measure is taken from our regular independent customer satisfaction survey, where we survey our customers (both complainants and service providers) at the end of the process. Satisfaction with service in our legal jurisdiction is gathered quarterly.

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Legal 85% customers satisfied with service (satisfied with outcome) Service providers 92%
Complainant 94%*
15% customers satisfied with service (dissatisfied with outcome) Service providers 17%
Complainant 13%*

Service Complaints

The second KPI looks at complaints about the service we provide and how many we uphold. Our process has 3 levels and allows for complaints to be escalated to an external Service Complaints Adjudicator if required. We seek to resolve complaints as early as possible.

Further information can be found in in our Service Complaints Procedure and Service Complaints Adjudicator report.

Total number of SC upheld % complaints upheld
% of service complaints (SC) upheld at Stage 1 (Team leader) 21 40%
Stage 2 (Senior Manager) 23 48%
Stage 3 (Service Complaint Adjudicator) 7 70%

Our reputation KPI’s include an indicator of how well we are working with our external stakeholders and whether complainants would recommend us to others. We look separately at complainants who are satisfied and dissatisfied with the outcome of their case as we know that this can significantly affect the views of our service.

Annual
% of stakeholders agreeing that LeO provides value-adding insight Survey undertaken in Q4 2018/19

 

Target Actual 2017/18
% of complainants satisfied with their outcome who would speak highly of LeO 80% 78%
% of complainants dissatisfied with their outcome who would speak highly of LeO 10% 5%

We are committed to delivering an efficient service within budget. Our unit cost is the total running costs divided by the number of closed cases. Overhead costs are apportioned between our legal and CMC jurisdictions.

Target Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Unit cost – legal jurisdiction £1,505 £2,097

We are committed to ensuring that the Legal Ombudsman offers an attractive package to all our employees. This includes flexible working, staff development and a focus on wellbeing.

This data covers both the legal and CMC jurisdiction.

Target Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Rolling annual turnover rate <12% 21%
Average days per employee lost to sickness Below CIPD public sector averages (8.5 days per FTE) 10.5 employee days
Staff survey engagement index > 60% 49.4%

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 2017/2018 Percentage of invoices paid within 5 days Percentage of invoices paid within 30 days Total amount of liable to pay
Quarter 1 16% 95% 0
Quarter 2 6% 88% 0
Quarter 3 5% 98% 0
Quarter 4 12% 95% 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 10% 97% 0
Quarter 3 7% 96% 0
Quarter 4 8% 95% 0

Complaints data 2016-17

In this section you will find some data about complaints we have handled from 1 April 2016 – 31 March 2017. 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?
  • Volume of complaints 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 data to reflect this as the effect of this is not significant. 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, *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.

 

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

Volume of complaints by area of law

The graph below shows the volume of complaints we received 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.

 

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

What were the areas of law by regulator?

The CSV file below 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.

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/Failure to progresd Discrimination Failure to advise Failure to follow instructions Failure to investigate complaint internally Failure to keep informed Failure to keep papers safe Failure to release files or papers Failure to reply Other Criminal activity Failure to comply with agreed remedy
Commercial Conveyancing 0.02% 0.02% 0.02% 0.00% 0.27% 0.00% 0.33% 0.17% 0.00% 0.12% 0.02% 0.02% 0.10% 1.95% 0.00% 0.00%
Commercial law 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.10% 0.00% 0.07% 0.17% 0.00% 0.02% 0.00% 0.02% 0.02% 1.89% 0.00% 0.00%
Consumer Law 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.02% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 7.69% 0.00% 0.00%
Crime 0.10% 0.10% 0.10% 0.03% 0.92% 0.02% 1.18% 1.52% 0.09% 0.56% 0.19% 0.46% 0.41% 5.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Employment Law 0.02% 0.02% 0.02% 0.02% 0.65% 0.00% 1.01% 0.62% 0.03% 0.45% 0.03% 0.09% 0.26% 5.58% 0.00% 0.02%
Family Law 0.17% 0.17% 0.17% 0.09% 2.26% 0.02% 2.65% 2.74% 0.14% 0.96% 0.26% 0.45% 0.75% 3.79% 0.00% 0.02%
Finances 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.19% 0.00% 0.22% 0.14% 0.02% 0.07% 0.00% 0.02% 0.05% 1.72% 0.00% 0.00%
Immigration and Asylum 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.03% 0.72% 0.00% 0.74% 0.89% 0.03% 0.41% 0.05% 0.22% 0.39% 2.78% 0.00% 0.00%
Litigation 0.07% 0.07% 0.07% 0.05% 2.02% 0.02% 2.04% 1.90% 0.14% 0.77% 0.09% 0.36% 0.50% 4.05% 0.00% 0.00%
Other 0.02% 0.02% 0.02% 0.03% 0.60% 0.00% 0.36% 0.27% 0.07% 0.21% 0.10% 0.09% 0.09% 3.51% 0.00% 0.00%
Personal Injury 0.19% 0.19% 0.19% 0.12% 3.95% 0.00% 2.05% 2.17% 0.15% 2.00% 0.14% 0.41% 1.28% 4.83% 0.00% 0.00%
Property 0.02% 0.02% 0.02% 0.03% 1.03% 0.00% 0.92% 1.08% 0.05% 0.41% 0.19% 0.17% 0.34% 2.52% 0.00% 0.00%
Residential Conveyancing 0.07% 0.07% 0.07% 0.19% 4.76% 0.00% 4.52% 3.27% 0.31% 2.09% 0.15% 0.33% 1.52% 3.80% 0.02% 0.00%
Social Welfare 0.09% 0.09% 0.09% 0.05% 0.39% 0.00% 0.33% 0.45% 0.07% 0.15% 0.02% 0.09% 0.19% 3.16% 0.00% 0.00%
Wills and Probate 0.15% 0.15% 0.15% 0.05% 3.36% 0.00% 1.61% 1.69% 0.17% 1.58% 0.34% 0.39% 0.96% 4.19% 0.02% 0.02%
Grand total 0.91% 8.90% 7.38% 0.70% 21.23% 0.05% 18.04% 17.09% 1.27% 9.79% 1.58% 3.10% 6.87% 3.97% 0.03% 0.05%

 

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.

Costs excessive Costs information deficient Delay/Failure to progress 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 Other Potential misconduct
Bar Standards Board 9.95% 3.48% 14.93% 24.38% 0.00% 0.50% 27.36% 1.00% 4.48% 4.98% 2.99% 0.50% 3.98% 1.49%
Chartered institute of Legal Executives 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Council for Licensed Conveyancers 3.49% 2.33% 36.63% 20.93% 0.00% 0.58% 13.37% 0.58% 10.47% 7.56% 0.58% 0.00% 3.49% 0.00%
Costs Lawyer Standards Board 0.00% 0.00% 25.00% 25.00% 0.00% 0.00% 25.00% 0.00% 25.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Solicitors Regulation Authority 9.05% 7.69% 20.99% 17.73% 0.05% 1.32% 16.83% 1.63% 9.97% 6.92% 3.19% 0.73% 2.97% 0.92%
Intellectual Property Regulation Board 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
The Notaries Society 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%
Grand Total 8.91% 7.39% 21.25% 18.06% 0.05% 1.27% 17.10% 1.58% 9.80% 6.87% 3.10% 0.70% 3.02% 0.91%

*initial complaint types used to populate this data

Cilex has 2 complaints but their initial complaint field is not recorded if asked we can provide information

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 480 24.38% 1489 76.62% 1969 100.00%
Other 100.00%
To apologise 125 79.61% 32 20.38% 157 100.00%
To complete work for the complainant 77 92.77% 6 7.23% 83 100.00%
To improve procedures to prevent the problem happening again 20 100.00% 0 0.00% 20 100.00%
To limit fees to a specified amount 50 68.49% 23 31.51% 73 100.00%
To pay a specified amount for expenses the complainant incurred in pursuing the complaint. 21 84.00% 4 16.00% 25 100.00%
To pay compensation for emotional impact and/or disruption caused 1082 57.68% 794 42.32% 1876 100.00%
To pay compensation of a specified amount for loss suffered 206 60.06% 137 39.94% 343 100.00%
To pay for someone else to complete the work 13 52.00% 12 48.00% 25 100.00%
To pay interest on compensation 3 50.00% 3 50.00% 6 100.00%
To pay interest on monies held 8 100.00% 0.00% 8 100.00%
To refund fees already paid 388 67.24% 189 32.76% 577 100.00%
To return papers 73 78.49% 20 21.51% 93 100.00%
To take (and pay for) any specified action in the interests of the complainant 42 70.00% 18 30.00% 60 100.00%
To waive unpaid fees 251 64.03% 141 35.97% 392 100.00%

 

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 36.90% 31 23.81% 20 39.29% 33 100.00% 84
Commercial law 23.08% 12 26.92% 14 50.00% 26 100.00% 52
Consumer Law 20.00% 1 40.00% 2 40.00% 2 100.00% 5
Crime 32.32% 138 17.80% 76 49.88% 213 100.00% 427
Employment Law 25.50% 64 21.91% 55 52.59% 132 100.00% 251
Family Law 29.29% 263 30.07% 270 40.65% 365 100.00% 898
Finances 38.46% 30 28.21% 22 33.33% 26 100.00% 78
Immigration and Asylum 23.97% 58 27.27% 66 48.76% 118 100.00% 242
Litigation 28.13% 182 24.42% 158 47.45% 307 100.00% 647
Other 31.67% 38 26.67% 32 41.67% 50 100.00% 120
Personal Injury 25.24% 240 40.48% 385 34.28% 326 100.00% 951
Property 25.08% 78 33.76% 105 41.16% 128 100.00% 311
Residential Conveyancing 23.27% 369 47.23% 749 29.51% 468 100.00% 1586
Social Welfare 20.00% 30 34.67% 52 45.33% 68 100.00% 150
Wills and Probate 26.07% 201 42.93% 331 31.00% 239 100.00% 771
Grand Total 26.40% 1735 35.55% 2337 38.05% 2501 100.00% 6573

*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 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:

  • 36.8% of ombudsman decisions resulted in a financial remedy between £1- to £299.
  • 33.02% of ombudsman decisions resulted in a financial remedy of between £300 and £999.
  • 19.67% of ombudsman decisions resulted in a financial remedy of between £1000 and £4,999.
  • 8% of ombudsman decisions resulted in a financial remedy of between £5,000 and £19,999
  • 2.6% of ombudsman decisions resulted in a financial resulted in a remedy  £20,000 and above

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.