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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In England and Wales, the Legal Services Ombudsman is a statutory officer who investigates allegations about the improper, ineffective or inefficient way that complaints about lawyers are handled by their respective self-regulating professional bodies. The Ombudsman is appointed by, and is answerable to, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice.[1]

The first Ombudsman was appointed to start work on 2 January 1991. During the first decade of operation, the office undertook 10,531 investigations:

Around 60% of the firms of solicitors in England and Wales and around 8% of practising barristers were subject of a complaint to the Ombudsman in that time.[2]

As of 2009, the Ombudsman is Zahida Manzoor.

Contents

Powers

The Ombudsman can:[3]

  • Recommend that the professional body re-investigate a complaint;
  • Order the re-investigation;
  • Formally criticise the professional body;
  • Award compensation for distress or inconvenience.

There is also a power to re-investigate the original complaint but this is only used in exceptional circumstances.

Reform

When the Legal Services Act 2007 fully comes into force, the Ombudsman will be abolished and replaced with an Office for Legal Complaints to supervise complaints handling.[4]

References

External links

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