The Legal Ombudsman LOS
The Legal Ombudsman can help you resolve a complaint about legal services. It may be that you are accused of failing to do what you agreed with your client, been slow in responding, or your client has suffered increased charges without it being explained.
Perhaps your client believes that you have unreasonably refused a legal service or has been pressured into accepting a service they did not want. LOS will investigate the client’s complaint and look at all the facts to reach a fair outcome for all. They are independent, impartial and do not take sides.
Should they decide the service you gave was unreasonable, they can make you put it right. The service they offer is free to consumers.
What issues can they help resolve?
They can investigate lots of different types of legal service complaints, such as the way a lawyer has dealt with a case or if you have given poor service. They can investigate complaints about all sorts of lawyers: solicitors, barristers, licensed conveyancers, cost lawyers, legal executives, notaries, patent attorneys, trade mark attorneys, law firms and companies providing legal services.
Who can use the service?
All members of the public and very small businesses, charities, clubs and trusts. They prefer that you to come to them directly, but consumers can ask a friend, relative or anyone else to get in touch for them. If they cannot assist the clients, they will/can put your client in touch with other organisations that might be able for example “The Solicitors Regulation Authority” and the “Bar Standards Board etc”.
Advice for Clients of Corporate Members
Step 1: Tell your lawyer
Your lawyer should provide you with a reasonable service and treat you fairly. But sometimes things do go wrong. If you are unhappy with the service you have received, tell your lawyer so they have a chance to put things right. Every lawyer should explain how their own complaints handling procedure works. You must give your lawyer a chance to resolve your complaint.
Step 2: Give your lawyer time to resolve things
You should allow your lawyer up to eight weeks to resolve your complaint. If they don’t deal with the complaint to your satisfaction in that time, you can involve the Ombudsman.
Step 3: Bring your complaint to The Ombudsman
Go to the Ombudsman as soon as you can after trying to sort things out with your lawyer. If you aren’t happy with their final response, you have up to six months to take your complaint to the Ombudsman. Also, the problem must have happened on or after 6 October 2010 or, if the problem happened earlier than that, you must not have been aware of it before 6 October 2010.
When you contact the Ombudsman you will be asked for information from you and your lawyer. Keep copies of any letters and emails as well as any notes you might have made about what happened and when.
When you contact the Ombudsman, it will help if you have:
- the name and address of the lawyer or law firm involved;
- the date you first told them about your complaint;
- the date you first became aware of the problem you are complaining about;
- details of their response.
- Documents cannot be accepted from online stores such as Microsoft SkyDrive, Xdrive and Livedrive.
How to contact the Ombudsman
- You can call on 0300 555 0333 (Calls to the Legal Ombudsman cost the same as a normal 01 or 02 landline number, even from a mobile phone, and are recorded for training and monitoring purposes).
They are open Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 5.30pm. If you are calling from overseas, please call +44 121 245 3050.
You can write to them at Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806 Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ If you need information in another language or in large print, braille or on audio CD, please get in touch.