Ombudsman confirms move into claims management
Plans for the Legal Ombudsman to handle complaints about claims management companies will benefit consumers and the legal profession, according to the chief ombudsman.
Proposals to bring complaints about claims management into the scheme’s remit were confirmed at this week’s meeting of the Office for Legal Complaints. Earlier this year, LeO and the Ministry of Justice, which regulates claims management companies, signed an understanding to share information on any breaches of existing rules.
Chief ombudsman Adam Sampson, blogging on the LeO website, said the plans had almost unanimous support from across the legal sector.
He said: ‘For consumers, we are offering the promise of wider access to redress. For the profession, an equalising of the playing field.’ He also said the operating cost of his organisation would be shared more widely. As part of the memorandum of understanding, agreed in January, the MoJ will advise on the rules surrounding regulation of claims management companies.
In return, LeO will supply the MoJ with information about the number of complaints and any trends they may indicate.
Meanwhile, a company handling complaints for the Legal Ombudsman has apologised for a change of address that left solicitor firms giving wrong information to clients. Under the Solicitors Regulation Authority code of conduct, clients must be informed at all times of their right to complain to the ombudsman and ways of doing so.
However, the ombudsman changed its address last year when its previous mail scanning contractor was taken over. Firms should change LeO's postal address in their terms of business and on their websites to ensure clients' right to complain is not inhibited. The correct address is PO Box 6806 Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ.
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