As of 1 April, the Ombudsman has adopted a new policy of identifying lawyers and law firms that are the subject of complaints.  The Ombudsman will publish a quarterly table of decisions against lawyers and law firms, including the number of decisions against them, the outcome in each one and the area of law involved. The first table will be on the Ombudsman’s website in late July.

However, where there is a “pattern of complaints” or where it is in the public interest that the lawyer or law firm be identified then, pending approval from the board, the Ombudsman will publish this information immediately – regardless of whether there has been an Ombudsman decision on the complaint.

Both methods of identifying lawyers are in line with powers given to the Office for Legal Complaints – the Ombudsman’s board – by the Legal Services Act 2007.

Liz France, chair of the board, said: “After careful reflection, based on the consultations we undertook, I am confident that the approach we are taking strikes the right balance.

“It meets our aim to be open in all we do while not providing information which is excessive to the purposes of publication – protecting consumers of legal services from detriment and helping to improve standards of service.”