The Legal Ombudsman made decisions about 1,673 firms and individuals during the last financial year, the organisation revealed today in its annual name-and-shame list.
The alphabetical list published today names all firms and individuals that were subject to an investigation where the complaint could not be informally resolved, those where a remedy was required and details of what that remedy was.
Direct access barrister Tariq Rehman was the most-complained-about lawyer in the year ending 31 March 2016, with 39 complaints, each requiring a remedy to his client.
Rehman recently lost an appeal in the High Court after seeking to judicially review a number of decisions made against him by the ombudsman.
In December 2014 Rehman, who was head of Kings Court Chambers, became the first lawyer to be publicly named and shamed because of the number of complaints against him.
According to this year’s figures, Bradford firm Allerton Kaye and south-west London practice Keppe & Partners were the most complained about law firms, with 14 complaints each. In both cases, a remedy was required on 13 occasions.
Keppe & Partners ceased to exist in October 2012 and is in a period of run-off. All the complaints relate to a stamp-duty saving scheme used by the firm, rather than any criticism of the quality of service.
The highest number of investigations involved national firms Irwin Mitchell (16) and Slater and Gordon (15).
A remedy was required in one of the complaints against Irwin Mitchell; a repayment of up to £299 following a property case in January 2016.
Slater and Gordon was required to offer a remedy in seven cases, including a repayment of up to £4,999 following what the ombudsman said was deficient costs information to a family law client.
The LeO is empowered to publish information on decisions by the 2007 Legal Services Act and it aims to help raise standards across the legal sector.
The majority of firms involved in decisions faced just a single complaint through the year. Where there was no remedy required, the ombudsman was satisfied the customer service was adequate or the remedy already offered by the law firm was reasonable.
For the first time, the LeO today also published details of claims management companies subject to complaints.
Between 28 January 2015 (when it assumed responsibility for CMC complaints-handling) and 31 March 2016, 88 companies were investigated, requiring 394 decisions.
PPI claims company Rock Law Limited, subject to a record £570,000 fine by the regulator last October, was subject to 165 decisions, with remedies required in 162 of those cases.
The ombudsman has committed to reduce spending by a further £500,000 in the next financial year as the number of cases continues to fall to an expected 6,500, down from a peak of 8,055 in 2013/14.
Legal expenditure is due to be set at £11.7m for 2016/17, down from £12.2m in the current year.