Legal Complaints Ombudsman Services
If you suspect that you have been the victim of professional negligence in the legal industry, the Legal Complaints Service or the Legal Ombudsman (www.legalombudsman.org.uk) is there to listen to your problem.
Anyone who has had dealings with a law firm will know that there are many ways in which things can go wrong. You certainly wouldn't be the only one as there were 17,000 complaints made in 2011, which represents an increase of 14% in just three years.
It is generally a good idea to approach the law firm directly if you have a complaint about the way they have carried out your case or work. Often it can be solved at this early stage. However, if you are still unhappy there are different options depending on where in the UK you live.
In England and Wales the Legal Ombudsman now takes care of all legal complaints and has replaced the Legal Complaints Service. It is regulated by The Law Society (www.lawsociety.org.uk) who used to have control of the Legal Complaints Service prior to 2010. The Legal Ombudsman was set up to prevent any chance of there being any bias and to ensure the complaints procedure was independent and working well.
Anyone can go to the Legal Ombudsman for any legal complaint including personal injury claims, conveyancing, divorce proceedings, employment law or criminal cases. The service is free, independent and impartial. All facts are looked at from all sides before any decision is made and if a complaint can be resolved in an informal way the Ombudsman will take this approach.
In Northern Ireland complaints are usually dealt with by the Lay Observer for Northern Ireland (www.layobserverni.com) who will deal with any complaints passed to them by the Law Society. If the Lay Observer agrees a complaint can be made, it is then passed to the Client Complaints Committee or a Disciplinary Tribunal. The Lay Observer is independent and free to use. It can also result in the complaints procedure being improved within the Law Society. However any guidance given by the Lay Observer is not binding.
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