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LSB Introduces stricter guidelines for handling consumer complaints in legal services

LSB Introduces stricter guidelines for handling consumer complaints in legal services


Legal Services Board (LSB) enhances requirements to improve initial complaint handling by legal providers.

The Legal Services Board (LSB) has unveiled new Requirements, Guidance, and a statement of policy aimed at refining the handling of first tier complaints in the legal sector. First tier complaints represent the initial grievances consumers voice to their legal service providers regarding the received service quality.

These measures seek to significantly enhance complaints handling by ensuring prompt resolution as close to the source as possible. Consumers are encouraged to voice their concerns confidently, knowing that their complaints will be treated seriously and used to enhance services. Complaint procedures should be easily accessible, allowing users to lodge complaints in their preferred manner, with clear guidance and updates on progress provided as needed.

Key concerns addressed by the Requirements & Guidance include the inadequacy of handling nearly half of the complaint cases escalated to the Legal Ombudsman at the first tier, premature complaints accounting for 30% of cases, and 26% of respondents refraining from taking action despite dissatisfaction with legal services.

The LSB's statement of policy mandates regulators to strive for the best possible complaints resolution system for legal service users and promote a culture of continuous improvement and learning from complaints and feedback.

Alan Kershaw, Chair of the LSB, emphasised the importance of addressing complaints promptly to prevent escalation and foster better customer relationships. The proactive approach not only benefits consumers but also enhances business competitiveness and reduces the need for regulatory intervention.

The LSB has established a group of interested organisations to support this initiative, aiming to facilitate a culture change in complaints handling within the sector and equip legal businesses with the necessary skills and confidence.

In addition to the announcement, Alan Kershaw has penned a blog emphasising the value of effective complaint-handling for both legal businesses and consumers.

The LSB's stricter guidelines aim to instil public trust and confidence in legal services, fostering a culture of transparency and accountability.