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Law Society loses legal action over complaints staff

26 February 2010

The Law Society has lost its legal action today to ensure that over 300 complaints staff working for the Legal Complaints Service at Leamington Spa are protected by TUPE.

Mr Justice Akenhead ruled that TUPE does not apply to the closure of the LCS and establishment of the Office for Legal Complaints.

The OLC, based in Birmingham and now referred to as the legal ombudsman, is not obliged to take staff from Leamington Spa when it begins its recruitment drive to fill around 300 posts by this autumn.

The Law Society launched a judicial review in December last year, accusing the government of breaking an undertaking that staff would be protected.

Accepting defeat, Des Hudson, chief executive of the Law Society, said he hoped that commitments made by justice minister Bridget Prentice would ensure that a “TUPE-style arrangement” for the transfer of staff was honoured.

Deborah Evans, chief executive of the LCS, said that productivity at the organisation remained extremely high throughout a period of uncertainty with case closures continuing to drive down the level of work in progress.

“We will be working closely with the OLC to enable as many LCS staff as possible to seek roles with the new organisation,” she said.

Adam Sampson, chief ombudsman, commented: “We have always been clear that our aim is to bring about a new way of resolving complaints and to do that we need the right skills and expertise to be successful.

“We want to develop a high-performing and diverse organisation and hope that many of the skilled and experienced employees of existing complaints handling bodies will want to be part of this new way of working.”

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