Law Soc warned about complaints conduct

The Legal Services Complaints Commissioner Zahida Manzoor today (10 July) raised concerns that the Law Society was not handling complaints in line with its own policies.

The warning comes as Manzoor published her third Annual Report, which showed that the Legal Complaints Service (LCS) and the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) had closed more than 20,000 complaints in the last financial year within a budget of £36m.

The Commissioner said that the performance of the LCS and SRA had been mixed.

“I welcome the improvements in how quickly complaints are handled and the effort that has gone into achieving this, which is good news for the consumer,” explained Manzoor. ““However, any improvements in the time it takes to handle complaints have to be viewed within the context of a poorer performance in the area of quality.

“It concerns me that some complaints are not being handled in line with the Law Society’s own policies. It is important that quality accompanies timeliness, and any shortcomings here are improved to impact on the overall service being provided to the consumer and the profession.”

On 12 June the Commissioner had written to the Law Society’s LCS and SRA notifying them that they had missed a number of the targets she had set for the last financial year.

She advised them of her provisional decision that the LCS and SRA have not handled complaints in accordance with the Plan submitted to her and that she was considering whether to levy a penalty.