Nick Hawkins, a barrister, former chief Crown prosecutor and Royal Navy lawyer, was today named as the next chief executive of the Office of the Legal Ombudsman. Recruitment for a new chief ombudsman is still under way, the office said. Both posts have been held by interim appointees since the departure of Adam Sampson in November last year. 

Hawkins will join in October from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) where he is chief operating officer, replacing interim chief executive Ian Brack.

He will be the first qualified lawyer in the role. While the Legal Services Act specifies that the chief ombudsman should be a lay person, it sets no such criterion for the position of chief executive. 

Hawkins joined the IPCC in September 2014 after 15 years in the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) as chief Crown prosecutor, specialising in football violence. He earlier served 22 years in the Royal Navy, retiring in the rank of commander in 1999, after setting up the independent Naval Prosecuting Authority. He is a visiting professor at the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies at the University of Portsmouth.

Steve Green, chair of the Office for Legal Complaints (the LeO board), said: 'I’m pleased to welcome Nick to the organisation. He comes with an impressive track record of achievement and delivery in a range of high-performing organisations. I’m confident he will use these skills to provide strong leadership to the team.'

No date has been announced for a decision on the new chief ombudsman.