you live in England and Wales and have a complaint about legal
services you have received, the Legal Ombudsman opens today.
This is a new impartial, independent service that
aims to help people resolve legal complaints in a fair
It is available, free of charge. to all members of the public,
very small businesses, charities, clubs and trusts.
What type of complaints does it get involved in?
The types of complaints about legal services that the Legal
Ombudsman can get involved in, include:
- Family law (e.g. divorce)
- Personal injury
- Buying and/or selling houses
- Intellectual property
- Criminal law
- Civil litigation
- Employment issues.
The Legal Ombudsman might investigate complaints where your
- not done what you instructed them to do
- involved you in unreasonable delays
- given you inaccurate or incomplete information
- failed to reply to your phone calls and letters
- failed to give you enough information about what they'll charge
you before they begin your case or give you the final bill
- failed to keep you informed about what is going on
- disclosed information about you which you wanted kept
- put their interests or another client's interests before
The service does not cover complaints about the legal advice you
received from a lawyer or disappointment you might feel because you
don't agree with the outcome of a court case.
What will it do?
If it decides the service you received was unsatisfactory,
the Legal Ombudsman can ask the lawyer and the firm to put it
right. If it thinks that the lawyer provided you with a
reasonable service, it will explain why.
Most complaints can be resolved informally. but a formal
investigation will be carried out if thought necessary.
However the service does not have to investigate every complaint it
receives, for instance if it thinks the problems you
experienced only had a slight impact on you.
Once a Legal Ombudsman's decision is accepted, it can make sure
the lawyer does what it says is needed.
For more details of the service and how to contact it, see the
website (link opens in a new window)
If you live in Scotland and have a complaint about legal
services, you need to contact the Scottish Legal
Complaints Commission (link opens in a new window).
If you live in Northern Ireland and have a complaint about legal
services, you need to contact the Law Society of Northern Ireland (link
opens in a new window)