This page provides information to members of the public who are looking for support with a legal query or who wish to complain about a regulator, lawyer or other legal professional.
The Legal Services Board (LSB) is not able to provide legal advice and by law we cannot intervene in complaints about legal professionals or regulators. We have provided further information in the answers to some frequently asked questions below.
If you cannot find an answer to your enquiry below, please contact us and we will do what we can to help.
1. How do I complain about an approved regulator?
If you would like to complain about the service you received from an approved regulator when they considered your complaint, you should contact the approved regulator directly. The LSB is an oversight regulator for the 10 approved regulators, and does not have jurisdiction to review approved regulators’ decisions or process on individual cases.
Here are the websites of the 10 approved regulators and frontline regulators that will be able to help you further:
The Law Society
Chartered Institute of Legal Executives [CILEx]
Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys [CITMA]
Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys [CIPA]
Council of Licensed Conveyancers [CLC]
Association of Cost Lawyers
Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales [ICAEW]
Association of Chartered Certified Accountants [ACCA]
The Faculty Office
2. Can the LSB intervene on my behalf if I disagree with the decision of an approved regulator?
No, the LSB is not allowed to intervene on your behalf if you disagree with a decision from an Approved regulator. The Legal Services Act 2007 prohibits the LSB from asking a regulator to decide a case in a certain way or to review decisions they have already made. The LSB is concerned with systemic issues in the legal services market and the role of regulation in protecting consumer as a whole, not at an individual level.
3. I need help with my court case, can the LSB help me?
No, the LSB cannot help with your specific court case. In fact, the LSB has no remit in respect to court cases at all. Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) provides information on the courts system and how to deal with cases. You can access this guidance through the HMCTS website. If you need help with finding a Lawyer, the Legal Choices website provides information on the different Types of lawyers you can use for your specific legal services need.
4. I need to complain about my lawyer, where do I go?
If you are unhappy with the service you received from your lawyer, the first step is to complain directly to the lawyer/law firm (See the Legal Ombudsman’s – Tips on how to complain to your lawyer). If you are still dissatisfied, the second step in this process is to contact the Legal Ombudsman 0300 555 0333. The Legal Services Board does not handle complaints about lawyers and cannot intervene in any new or ongoing complaint or dispute.
5. I need help with my Legal Ombudsman case, can the LSB help me?
If you are unhappy with how the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) handled your case, the first step is to communicate to the lead person dealing with your case and if you feel that it is still unresolved, it will be escalated to their Operational Support Team. More information on how to complain about the Legal Ombudsman service is here. The Legal Ombudsman was established by the Office for Legal Complaints (OLC) under the Legal Services Act 2007 to administer an independent, consumer focused scheme to resolve complaints about lawyers. More information about the Legal Ombudsman is available at: www.legalombudsman.org.uk.
6. What activities are currently regulated? (reserved legal activities)
There are six specific legal services activities that only those who are authorised (or those who are exempt) can carry on. These are called “reserved legal activities”.The six reserved legal activities are: the exercise of a right of audience; the conduct of litigation; reserved instrument activities; probate activities; notarial activities; and the administration of oaths. Lawyers carrying on these activities are regulated by the approved regulators in the legal services sector, working under the oversight of the LSB. For further information, please see our reserved legal activities page
7. Can the LSB help me get legal aid?
The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) is the body responsible for running the legal aid scheme in England and Wales. Their website can be accessed here. The LSB is not the authority responsible for legal aid, we are not able to intervene in any cases.
For enquiries regarding legal aid, you need to get in touch with the Legal Aid Agency, contact details are as follows:
Telephone number: 0300 200 20 20
8. Where can I get help with my SDT [Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal] case?
The Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal adjudicates upon alleged breaches of the rules and regulations applicable to solicitors and their firms. If you want to complain about the service you received with SDT you can contact them by writing an email or via the post. Please follow their guidance to fill in the enquiry with the required detail. The LSB can not intervene in any cases at the Tribunal. You can read more about the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal at https://www.solicitorstribunal.org.uk/
9. How does the LSB conduct performance monitoring?
We monitor, review and assess regulators under our regulatory performance assessment framework to ensure they meet the minimum expected standard of performance across the regulatory performance standards. In order to assure ourselves of performance, we assess a range of evidence sources including a performance management dataset that the regulators report to us, stakeholder feedback and publicly available documentation such as Board papers and minutes. If we are unable to assure ourselves of performance through an assessment of available evidence, or we have reason to be concerned about the regulator’s performance, we may undertake a review of their performance against one or all of the standards. More detail about the framework, including process documents, is available on our website. When we undertake a review of regulatory performance, or a thematic review, we publish a report on our findings. The most recent regulatory performance report is available on our website.
10. How does the LSB monitor the performance of the Legal Ombudsman?
The Office for Legal Complaints (OLC) is the board of the Legal Ombudsman. The OLC is an independent public sector body in its own right and has its own statutory functions, powers and duties. The Legal Services Act gives the LSB a variety of functions, powers and duties in relation to the OLC, including requiring us to appoint the OLC Board and approve its budget. The OLC has day to day responsibility for overseeing the Legal Ombudsman’s performance, and the LSB has various measures in place for overseeing the performance of the OLC.
The LSB has continued to operate and refine an approach to voluntary assurance agreed by the respective Chairs in June 2017. This comprises a series of elements:
- information about the Legal Ombudsman’s performance is put on its website quarterly (completed, ongoing)
- OLC provide comprehensive information on scheme performance to the LSB through OLC Board papers and minutes (completed, ongoing);
- quarterly meetings to discuss performance, including attendance by an LSB Board Member and CEO at OLC Board meetings twice yearly, now increased to quarterly (completed, ongoing – meetings attended in October 2019 and March 2020)
- the OLC Chair would send a voluntary assurance note to the LSB, following each OLC Board meeting, explaining how the OLC has dealt with the Legal Ombudsman’s performance at that meeting (completed, ongoing). In addition to the measures above, working with the MoJ, we have asked the OLC to produce a draft roadmap setting out a path to a sustained level of acceptable performance
11. What is the timeline for LSB’s involvement with SQE?
On 31 July the LSB received the SRA’s application to introduce its new education and training framework We have published the SRA’s application in full on our website. This application is for the approval of amendments to the SRA’s Authorisation of Individuals regulatory arrangements related to the proposed introduction of a Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE). We have an initial window of 28 days to make a decision up until 27 August, which can be extended up to 90 days.
We anticipate submissions from those in the sector, which we will publish and share with the SRA for comment. We will also factor any new substantive issues into our assessment.
If you have any questions, please get in touch with Carla Duval, Regulatory Policy Associate.