The following revisions also come into effect tomorrow intended to help the Legal Ombudsman respond to a developing legal services market:
- Financial limits will increase from £30,000 to £50,000
- Time limits for accepting a complaint will increase to six years from the date of act/omission and three years from the date the complainant should reasonably have known there were grounds for complaint. These time limits will be extended gradually from 6 October 2010 – the date LeO opened for business. However, the Ombudsman will continue to accept complaints about issues that happened before 6 Oct 2010 if the complainant only became aware of it after this date.
- The Ombudsman will be able to accept complaints from prospective customers who could reasonably have expected to receive a service or who were unreasonably offered a service they did not want.
The Ombudsman does not anticipate that changes will substantially add to the 75,000-80,000 contacts it receives each year; however, it does expect around a 10% increase in the proportion of contacts which will fall within its eligibility criteria. This will inevitably increase the number of full investigations that the organisation carries out.