On 9 July 2015, the UK will be required to comply with the EU directive on alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
If the Legal Ombudsman is successful in its application to become an approved ADR provider under the directive, solicitors will need to make changes to the information they provide to clients in relation to their complaints procedures.
Solicitors should also be aware that one of the Legal Ombudsman’s time limits will change as a consequence of this legislation.
The information requirements of the directive, and subsequently the regulations, are very similar, although not identical to the existing requirements on firms.
The government has laid regulations (PDF) to bring in the changes. The changes which will affect solicitors directly are:
These requirements apply in addition to any information requirements already applicable to solicitors regarding redress. For examples, the requirements set out by the Legal Services Board and the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
The Law Society is closely monitoring developments around the implementation of the directive and will provide more information as it becomes available.
Please note: All of these changes are dependent on the Legal Ombudsman being successful in its application to become a certified entity under the EU directive. It is not expected that it will be unsuccessful.