Legal Ombudsman: Striking the Right Balance

(Posted on 07/04/12)

By now, those in the legal field are well aware of the many changes that continue to unfold. Solicitors in the UK have closely monitored those changes in an effort to first, remain in compliance, but also to ensure they're ahead of the proverbial loop.

The Office for Legal Complaints announced recently two significant changes it's making as it moves forward. Many recall last year's announcement that it would be publishing some details surrounding what it referred to as "specific circumstances". This, of course, included the publishing of the involved solicitors. Now, though, there are two more changes coming that the Office hopes will further the commitment of better transparency.

Quarterly Reports
First up is the decision to publish, via quarterly reports, a summary of all ombudsman decisions made in the previous three months. It will provide the total cases, the outcomes - or lack thereof and even will provide which legal sector is applicable. The first quarterly report is expected to be published towards the end of July and will then update every three months.

Pattern Reports
Then, the Office is preparing to provide what it refers to as a "pattern of complaints, or circumstances", which, again is based on public interest. It will require approval prior to publication. One board member agreed that this is the right way for "striking a good balance". The efforts aren't to complicate matters for solicitors, but rather, to continue its goal of a stronger and more open legal community while bridging the differences, when they occur, between solicitors and their clients.

The goal is to provide the right information that will be easily accessed and used without providing irrelevant bits that will bog the process down. As the Office continues to improve the legal sector throughout the UK, there are sure to be further changes in coming months.

If you'd like to read more about the role of the Legal Ombudsman, visit the website at

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