PAM Guide to Wealth Management

Making a complaint about a lawyer

If you want to complain about a lawyer, you should first approach the firm. Each firm should have a dedicated complaints handler and a procedure for dealing with unsatisfied clients. If you are not satisfied with the way in which your complaint is handled, or you have not received a response within eight weeks, then you can contact the Legal Ombudsman.

Like the Financial Ombudsman, the Legal Ombudsman is an independent and impartial body set up to settle such disputes. It is free to use.

Usually it will look into your complaint, if all of the three following criteria are met:

  1. The problem, or when you found out about it, happened after 5 October 2010; and
  2. You are referring your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within either of the following: Six years of the problem happening, or three years from when you found out about it; and
  3. You are referring your complaint within six months of your service provider's final response.

The Legal Ombudsman can take a number of steps to resolve the complaint. These include asking the service provider to:

  • Apologise
  • Give back any documents that might be needed
  • Put things right, if more work can correct what went wrong
  • Refund or reduce the legal fees

Pay compensation of up to £50,000, if someone has lost out, or been badly treated (bear in mind that the average compensation award is under £250).

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