Manzoor hits Law Soc with £250,000 fine for shoddy complaints handling

The Law Society has been landed a £250,000 penalty by the Legal Services Complaints Commissioner Zahida Manzoor after she found its complaints handling plan inadequate.

The fine penalises the Law Society for failures in its complaints handling plan for the current financial year, to March 2007.

Manzoor said that the society has failed to include the targets she has set in the plan. The £250,000 penalty was set following representations from the Law Society.

The Law Society reacted to the penalty angrily. Consumer Complaints Board chair Shamit Shaggar said in a statement: “This fine is wholly unreasonable. Our proposals for the coming year are ambitious and would significantly benefit consumers. But we cannot commit to unrealistic targets.”

Law Society president Kevin Martin added: “We have established an independent Consumer Complaints Board to oversee it and provided the Board with the budget it asked for. It is difficult to see what more we could reasonably do and so this fine flies in the face of logic.”

The board has a budget of £39m, allocated in accordance with the plan.