Changes to processing of complaints against solicitors and legal costs are effective 7 October 2019.
The Legal Services Regulatory Authority (“the Authority”) has now commenced its functions under Part 6 of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 (“the Act”) which provides for a new complaints function in relation to solicitors and barristers. Any new complaints about solicitors must be made to the Authority and not the Law Society.
The Society will continue its functions for existing complaints that have been received prior to the commencement of Part 6 of the Act until those complaints have reached conclusion. Any new complaints received by the Society after the commencement of Part 6 must be sent to the Authority as required under the Act.
The Society will continue to exercise its statutory functions in relation to other matters including the Solicitors Accounts Regulations, anti-money laundering, practising certificates and professional indemnity insurance.
Part 10 of the Act has also been commenced. This introduces the Office of the Legal Costs Adjudicators. Sections 149 to 161 of the Act impose a continuing obligation on solicitors and barristers to keep clients updated on the legal costs to be incurred. To do so will require solicitors and barristers to provide clients with detailed notices in respect of the costs that will be incurred by the client in the provision of legal services. As a consequence, section 68 of the Solicitors (Amendment) Act 1994 has been replaced with the new “section 150 notice”.
Part 10 also requires solicitors and barristers to provide standardised bills of costs to the client and the procedures available to them should they wish dispute any aspect of the bill of costs. In addition, the Office of the Legal Costs Adjudicators takes over the duties of the Taxing Master and has the power to adjudicate on disputes regarding bills of costs.
It is recommended that solicitors review the precedents on the Solicitors' Precedents page (no.12) :