The Legal Ombudsman to tackle claims management companies complaints

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The Legal Ombudsman has set out their intentions for tackling claims management companies (CMC) complaints this year, as they prepare to take over from the Claims Management Regulation Unit (CMRU).

With a reported 10,000 contacts being made from the public to the CMRU in 2013/14, it is expected that the Legal Ombudsman may find them with a high volume of CMC complaints to deal with moving forward and as part of their 2014-17 strategy; they have insisted that they can handle it.

There have been concerns that the large amount of likely CMC complaints would have a damaging impact on the legal services complaint that the Legal Ombudsman currently deal with, which the chief Ombudsman, Adam Sampson, refuted at a round-table event in January.

He claimed that it would in fact bring economies of scale and that in the medium term he expected the cost of the service that the Legal Ombudsman offer to their existing customers to be reduced, not increased as a result.

However this has been contradicted somewhat by the newly launched 2014-17 strategy, which states that the two functions for which the Legal Ombudsman operate will remain separate and that CMC complaints will be ring fenced in order to limit any adverse impact that it could have on the existing work which the Legal Ombudsman undertake.

Overall the Legal Ombudsman plans to invest £13.87m on legal service complaints over the next year, £12.8m of which will be drawn from a levy on the legal profession and the rest through case fees, whilst CMC complaints will be funded separately.

It is good news for the practising lawyer, who will be required to pay £83 towards the service in 2014/15, which is a drop of 13% on last year and sees a saving of £30.

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