The Law Society has questioned what evidence there is to show solicitors are not telling clients about their right to complain.
The Legal Services Board is asking what more can be done by regulators to signpost clients to their options of taking cases to the Legal Ombudsman. Current guidelines about what regulators should expect of lawyers date back to 2010 and the LSB is asking whether additional demands should be placed on practitioners.
In its response published this week, the Law Society questioned why the LSB is spending money on an unnecessary consultation that has potential to duplicate guidance.
The representative body said the LSB has decided signposting is inadequate partly based on statistics which are several years old. More recent research shows the legal profession is catching up with financial businesses in guiding unhappy clients to the right of redress.
‘We do not believe that this data provides sufficient evidence that solicitors are not informing clients of their right to complain to the ombudsman,’ said the Law Society.
‘Moreover, the Legal Ombudsman could ask complainants if their lawyer told them about the service, as this would yield more accurate results. Given that lack of evidence, we are unsure why the LSB has chosen to expend resources in this area.’
The oversight regulator has indicated frontline regulators should collect data on first-tier complaints, but the Society said there was no information about the value of this data or the costs of collecting and assessing it.
The Society said frontline regulators already have requirements in relation to signposting to the ombudsman option, with current rules already stating all clients must be informed of their right to complain.
‘We do not believe that the LSB’s guidance is necessary and in areas such as guidance on signposting there is a risk of regulators duplicating guidance that is already provided by the Legal Ombudsman and the representative bodies.’