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Thursday, 23 March 2017

LSB announces new appointment to the Office for Legal Complaints

The Legal Services Board (LSB) today announces the appointment of Rebecca Hilsenrath (Non-Lay member) as a new member of the Office for Legal Complaints (OLC).

This appointment has been made by the Legal Services Board in accordance with the Legal Services Act 2007.

Commenting on the appointment, Sir Michael Pitt, LSB Chairman said:

"I am delighted to announce this appointment to the Office for Legal Complaints (OLC).

The Legal Ombudsman scheme administered by the OLC plays an invaluable part in making sure consumers of legal services and claims management companies can have confidence in the sector.

I wish our new colleague every success."



For further information, please contact the LSB's Communications Manager, Vincent McGovern (020 7271 0068).

Notes for editors:

  1. The Legal Services Act 2007 (the Act) requires the Legal Services Board (LSB) to appoint the Chair and Members of the Office for Legal Complaints (OLC) [Schedule 15 of the Act].

  2. The Office for Legal Complaint (OLC) is responsible for establishing and administering the Legal Ombudsman for England and Wales - the independent and impartial complaints resolution body for the legal sector.

  3. The Legal Ombudsman for England and Wales, as set up by the OLC (its Board), is independent and impartial. This means that when the service receives a complaint, it will look at the facts in each case and weigh-up both sides of the story. The Ombudsman is not a consumer champion or part of the legal profession, and is also independent of Government. There is no cost to the taxpayer.

  4. Pre-appointment hearings enable select committees to take evidence from preferred candidates for key public appointments. They take place before an appointment is confirmed, but after the selection process has taken place. Details of the process can be found here. The Justice Select Committee's pre-appointment scrutiny of the Chair of the Office for Legal Complaints will take place on 22 March.

  5. Rebecca Hilsenrath (Non-Lay member) was appointed Chief Executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in October 2015, having joined the Commission as Chief Legal Officer in March 2014. Prior to that, she was for five years CEO of LawWorks (the Solicitors Pro Bono Group), a national charity facilitating free legal advice to community groups and individuals in need.

    After graduating from Cambridge, Rebecca trained and practiced at Linklaters, and then moved to the Government Legal Service, where she held roles in the then Department for Education and Skills and in the Attorney General's Office. Rebecca has also established two schools, set up the National Pro Bono Centre in Chancery Lane and has sat on the boards of a number of charities and advice agencies, including the Bar Pro Bono Unit and the Mary Ward Legal Centre.

    In 2012, she was listed by the Times among the 100 most influential lawyers in the country. She has four sons and a foster daughter and her hobbies include renovating a listed cottage in Snowdonia and writing e-novels.

  6. The Legal Services Act 2007 (the Act) created the LSB as a new regulator with responsibility for overseeing the regulation of legal services in England and Wales. The new regulatory regime became active on 1 January 2010.

  7. The LSB oversees nine approved regulators, which in turn regulate individual legal practitioners. The approved regulators, designated under Part 1 of Schedule 4 of the 2007 Act, are the Law Society, the Bar Council, the Master of the Faculties, the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys, the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys, the Association of Costs Lawyers and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

    In addition, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants are listed as approved regulators in relation only to reserved probate activities.

  8. As at 1 April 2016, the legal profession in England and Wales comprised 145,059 solicitors, 15,288 barristers, 6,848 chartered legal executives and 5,697 other individuals operating in other areas of the legal profession such as conveyancing. The UK legal sector turnover was £32 billion per annum (2015) which is up 23% in cash terms since 2012. For more information see here.