To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will make an assessment of (a) the adequacy of the support provided to people making complaints against solicitors and (b) the potential merits of (i) increasing the support provided throughout the complaints process and (ii) simplifying the complaints process.
The legal profession in England and Wales together with its regulators, operates independently of the Government. The responsibility for regulating the sector sits with the approved regulators, overseen by the Legal Services Board (LSB).
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is the approved regulator for solicitors. The SRA is responsible for handling complaints regarding solicitor conduct, complaints can be made via their website at https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor/.
If a consumer is dissatisfied with the service provided by a solicitor, they can log a complaint with the Legal Ombudsman. This can be done via their website at https://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/make-a-complaint/.
The LSB recently led a consultation (24 August – 17 November 2023) on proposals to ensure that people who use legal services have access to fair and effective complaint procedures. The proposals aim to strengthen consumer protection and improve the overall quality and standards of legal services.
Their new proposal focuses on bettering the current complaints procedures. It sets clear outcomes for regulators to deliver, including collecting and analysing intelligence on complaints to support the best possible redress system, as well as fostering a culture of learning and continuous improvement. By engaging regulators on key issues, the LSB aims to drive higher standards in the provision of legal services across the board. The LSB will consider the feedback they receive and in turn make appropriate changes to their draft policy. A response to their consultation will be issued in early 2024, alongside the final Requirements, Guidance and statement of policy.