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15 March 2021

Report Reflects Positively on Society’s Client Complaint Work

The Law Society of Northern Ireland has welcomed The Lay Observer’s 2019/20 Annual Report as a demonstration of the Society’s ongoing work in relation to client complaints.

The report published by The Lay Observer (Ms Marian Cree) highlights a number of positive improvements including:

* A significant decrease in the number of categorised complaints.

* A decrease in conveyancing complaints reflecting the Society’s enhancements in its CPD programme and outreach in this area of legal practice.

* The adoption of a more robust and sterner approach taken by the Law Society in relation to client complaint investigations and outcomes.   

* The Society’s commitment to maintaining standards and executing their powers as the Regulator for the sector.

* A decrease in the number of referrals to the Lay Observer from complainants dissatisfied with the Society’s treatment of their complaint. Of those referrals investigated by the Lay Observer none were upheld, underscoring the work and decision making of the Client Complaints Committee.

* The introduction of the Society’s online complaint’s portal which has increased accessibility to the complaints process.

* An increase in the issuing of Regulatory Notices by the Client Complaints Committee to its members on their regulatory obligations.

The Report highlights that the Society in the preceding year has demonstrated a willingness to continue to improve our complaints processes for all concerned along with a desire to make the process more transparent and customer focused”. 

 The Lay Observer goes further describing her report as presenting:

“Another 12-month period which has seen a continued positive trend in how complaints are registered and handled by the Society”.

Commenting on the report, John Mackell, Head of Professional Conduct said:

“Overall, the Lay Observer’s report reflects positively on the work of the Society, the staff within the Department and the Client Complaints Committee led by Mr. Reg Rankin. 

We remain very much focused on building on the good work to date and engaging collaboratively with the Lay Observer to enhance the effectiveness of our complaint procedures”. 



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