Regulation

Legal Ombudsman looks to review scheme rules after a decade

The Legal Ombudsman’s (LeO) proposed changes to its Scheme Rules have been broadly welcomed by solicitors’ leaders.

LeO is empowered to make changes to the Scheme Rules by the Legal Services Act 2007.

The rules set out how the ombudsman scheme operates and cover the types of complaints LeO can accept, who can complain, the different ways complaints can be resolved and when a complaint may be dismissed.

Law Society of England and Wales president I. Stephanie Boyce said: “We welcome the review of the Scheme Rules, which is long overdue, given the rules were last reviewed a decade ago.

“LeO is proposing a number of changes which it says will help it to deal with cases much more efficiently, resolve complaints with minimum formality, therefore reducing the customer waiting time.

“We support the proposed reduction to the time limit for bringing a complaint to one year from the date of omission/awareness, whichever is later. This is a reasonable time within which to bring a complaint.

“It is hoped that, if the proposals are implemented, new incoming complaints will be dealt with much more effectively so that LeO can focus on tackling the backlog of cases. There are currently over 6,000 waiting for investigation.

“In its business plan, LeO states that it’s aiming to resolve 10,244 complaints in 2022/2023.

“In the longer term the ombudsman is also looking to widen the extent of its decision-making powers to ensure complaints are resolved efficiently.

“However, there must be transparent processes and safeguards in place to ensure that complaints are handled fairly by properly trained individuals.

“We look forward to knowing the outcome of this consultation and will communicate any changes with our members.”

Notes to editors

Read the Legal Ombudsman’s scheme rules review consultation

Read about LeO’s scheme rules review consultation

Read LeO’s 2022/2023 business plan and budget

Read our consultation response in full

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