Legal Ombudsman updates complaints handling rules

Changes to various aspects of complaints handling from the Legal Ombudsman are set to take effect from 1 February.

The changes include increasing the Ombudsman’s financial limits from £30,000 to £50,000, an increase in time limits for accepting a complaint to six years and introducing an opportunity for prospective customers to complain.

As announced previously, the Legal Ombudsman will start regulating claims management companies later in the year and these changes are designed to help prepare for this.

It is hoped that the changes will also mean the Ombudsman becomes an even more viable alternative to court action for disgruntled consumers.

The changes are not expected to lead to an increase in contacts, however considerably more cases will now meet eligibility criteria meaning a likely increase in the number of investigations carried out.

Chief Legal Ombudsman, Adam Sampson, said: “At the heart of what we are proposing is a desire to future proof against changes in both the legal market and our jurisdiction.

“In particular, we want to reduce confusion among consumers by co-ordinating our scheme with other ombudsman schemes and ensure we can order firms to give the appropriate level of redress.

“We consulted heavily with legal professionals, regulators and consumer groups before making the revisions. I’m confident that they will stand us in good stead to remain an effective complaint handling body.”

Further information and a summary of consultation responses are available from the Legal Ombudsman’s website at

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