The Legal Ombudsman has been given a provisional start date of 28 January 2015 from which it can start handling complaints about claims management companies (CMCs).
The Ombudsman has been given the green light to step up preparations after the Government published its response to the Lord Chancellor’s fee consultation regarding the handling of CMC complaints. The regulations laid out in the response confirm that CMCs will fund the Ombudsman’s complaints division through a sliding scale fee structure, based on a CMC’s turnover.
In its consultation response, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said that “no novel arguments” had been put forward during the consultation to change its belief that its proposed funding scheme was the right way to fund the Ombudsman’s CMC department.
The news has been welcomed by the Ombudsman’s Head of Claims Management, Simon Tunnicliffe, who said: “This is an important step forward for the Ombudsman. We look forward to playing our part in raising standards across the claims management industry, and to finally giving consumers access to redress where they have received poor service.”
The Government first announced its intention to commence section 161 of the Legal Services Act 2007 and let the Ombudsman deal with CMC complaints in August 2012, but its plans were delayed by disagreements over funding.