Lawyers provoke record protests

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The Independent Online
COMPLAINTS AGAINST law-yers are at a record high and, in the case of solicitors, are spiralling out of control, says a damning report on the profession. Ann Abraham, the Legal Services Ombudsman, says in her annual report, out today, that the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS) has received two complaints for every five solicitors.

Ms Abraham's office is investigating a record 1,658 complaints. The report accuses the Law Society of not heeding warnings in her last report that the OSS was in danger of being swamped. Unless the society puts its house in order, it could lose the right to self-regulation, she says.

The Law Society recently committed pounds 5.7m to dealing with complaints. But, she said, "it is a serious indictment that the Law Society had allowed things to reach such a crisis before taking action".

In one case quoted, a firm of solicitors threatened to send round "their representatives" if a man, recovering from a heart attack, did not honour a contract from which he had already withdrawn.