The head of the legal complaints handler has said there is ‘no immediate prospect’ of his office being given responsibility for complaints about claims management companies.

Chief ombudsman Adam Sampson (pictured) said today there was little progress on a change that the government announced in August 2012

Talks are still ongoing between the Ministry of Justice, Treasury and Legal Services Board about how the Legal Ombudsman scheme will work and be funded.

Sampson told the Westminster Legal Policy Forum the issue was held up by ‘dull bureaucratic nonsense’ leaving consumers with few options when they are wrongly treated by CMCs.

‘There is and continues to be a major hole in the landscape of CMC regulation,’ he said. ‘There is regulation but no access to redress.’

Sampson said the claims management industry should welcome the chance to be linked to the LeO to clean up the rogue elements of the sector.

‘We need to improve the position of individual consumers who have lost out. We would charge a case fee against those deemed to have misbehaved – the financial burden of redress would be very high,’ he said. 

‘This is long overdue and it would be very nice if as much pressure was brought on the government and LSB to sort out a mess which is eminently sortable.’

Earlier in the event, Kevin Rousell, head of claims management regulation at the MoJ, predicted further consolidation in the CMC market as the referral fee ban takes effect.

The conference heard that the number of CMCs had fallen from around 2,500 to 1,500 since April, with more than 100 staff now employed at the regulation unit. ‘What will be left will be a better, cleaner and more efficient claims management system,’ Rousell said.