The Legal Ombudsman (LO), which deals with complaints against lawyers, will be naming and shaming shoddy solicitors in a new online service set to go live in a few weeks.

The plan is to publish the names and details of lawyers who have been the subject of a "pattern of complaints", or where revealing their identities is considered to be in the public interest. And any lawyer who has been involved in a complaint culminating in a ruling will also have their name and the outcome of the complaint published on the site. And that's a lot of rulings: the LO investigates around 8,400 complaints a year, mostly in family and conveyancing cases, and about a third of these result in a ruling, according to a report in the Times.

The new site sounds very much like a respectable version of Solicitors from Hell, the skull-and-hellfire-adorned website which dished out vitriolic kickings to any lawyer deemed to have let a client down. However, unlike Solicitors from Hell, the LO is unlikely to charge solicitors a £299 "admin fee" to have their details removed. Instead, the idea is to provide consumers with protection and help improve standards in the legal profession.

  Spot the difference: Adam Sampson (Chief Ombusdman) and Solicitors from Hell

The Law Society, however, is sceptical and is concerned that the site will disproportionately affect lawyers who work in areas of law which tend to attract a high level of complaints and those who deal with more vulnerable clients. A spokeswoman confirmed that the Law Society "continues to oppose LO’s publication policy". Before adding rather grudgingly: "given that they have elected to proceed, we have worked with them to ensure that the information that they do publish is as proportionate, transparent and helpful to consumers as possible".
 
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Comments

Anonymous 15 August 12 13:45

Seriously, its about time. Cowboys like SFH.co.uk have been doing it for the LO, so its good that a responsible(ish) body is going to take it up. The majority of lawyers that are good, honest and hardworking will have no problem with this. We occupy a position of trust, and charge for it, so this type of scutiny should be welcomed. Hopefully this will also help to drive out the useless and dishonest from our profession!

Roll On Friday 15 August 12 22:55

It will make firms less likely to accept any rulings that Mrs Jones was upset because she wasn't told her damages might come two days later than they did and take them to court presumably you can get judicial review of a LO ruling, in order to keep off the list. There are already rulings in the Gazette. I read them every week. Are those on line or just in the paper version?

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