There is no harm in the Legal Ombudsman joining the realms of organisations making hay out of Divorce Day. This annual tradition, which makes the flimsy suggestion that more divorces are initiated on a single day in January than the rest of the year, is a feeding frenzy for PR people, and the ombudsman is entitled to cash in.
But might we suggest the press release published yesterday is just a tad misleading?
The release begins by saying that grievances about divorce are still a major cause of legal complaints in England and Wales.
We are told that in 2015/16 the service dealt with almost 500 complaints relating to matrimonial law.
Clients mostly complain about costs, but have also been upset by delays, failing to advise and failing to follow instructions.
It doesn’t paint a pretty picture, and the implication is presumably that clients should be wary of falling foul of one of the rogue lawyers working in the field.
This has even greater emphasis when the release tells us a remedy was required in 60% of cases, which seems a high proportion.
But wait! Tucked away in the fifth paragraph is what the ombudsman acknowledges to be good news: the number of complaints about divorce services has decreased. Indeed, the ombudsman even suggests lawyers are beginning to make improvements in the way they deal with complaints.
The media is often accused of talking up bad stories, so might Obiter suggest this obvious success story for the legal profession could have been placed higher?