The Legal Ombudsman’s rules for making a complaint about legal services changed on 1 April 2023.

There are four areas that are effected, which are as follows:

  • A change to time limits.
  • Discretion to decline to issue a formal Ombudsman decision after an investigator case decision if neither party raises any substantive objection to the findings.
  • Changes to the Ombudsman discretion to dismiss or discontinue a complaint in certain circumstances.
  • Minor drafting changes to update Scheme Rules including new dates and correcting previous typographical drafting errors.

The most significant change for clients is the change to the time limits for referring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. The previous six year limit has been reduced and is now no later than one year from the date of the act or omission being complained about or one year from the date a client becomes aware that there is cause for complaint.

The Legal Ombudsman will retain the ability to exercise discretion to extend the one year time limit for specific clients if, on the evidence, it is fair and reasonable to do so.

More detailed information about the changes can be found in The Legal Ombudsman’s Consumer guidance on Scheme Rules changes publication.