The Legal Services Board (LSB) announced the members of the new Office for Legal Complaints (OLC) this week. The six appointments follow the confirmation by the Justice Select Committee of Elizabeth France as OLC Chair on 28 October 2008.
The OLC will be a new organisation to develop and administer an independent ombudsman scheme to deal with complaints by consumers about legal services.
David Edmonds, LSB Chair, said: "Making sure that consumers have access to swift and effective redress mechanisms when they have legitimate complaints about their lawyers is a primary objective of the new regulatory framework. Whilst most lawyers provide an excellent service, there are inevitably occasions when things go wrong. The OLC will ensure that there is a place for aggrieved consumers to go if attempts to sort things out directly with their lawyer fail.
"The experienced Board announced today is uniquely equipped to build the new organisation and deliver a first-class ombudsman scheme."
The members are:
An independent mediator and a consultant in alternative dispute resolution, she is currently a non-executive director of The Ombudsman Service Ltd and the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.
Currently a member of the Council of the Competition Commission, a non-executive director of the Government Agency, Animal Health, a member of the Financial Protection Committee of the Solicitors Regulation Authority and a member of the Disciplinary Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.
Brian Woods-Scawen CBE
A non-executive Chairman or Board member of a number of organisations in the private and public sectors.
A solicitor, she is a non-executive director of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, a member of the RICS Surveyors Ombudsman Scheme Board and a trustee of the charity, Gingerbread.
Professor Mary Seneviratne
A solicitor, she is currently Director of Research and Head of the Centre for Legal Research at Nottingham Law School.
Previously the Banking Ombudsman, since 2005 he has been Corporate Director and Principal Ombudsman at the Financial Ombudsman Service responsible for corporate policy.
The new members, who will together bring experience in the legal sector, alternative dispute resolution, regulation and academia, have each been appointed for a three-year term from 1 February 2009 and will formally take up post on 1 July 2009.