pounds 2,000 fines planned for insulting lawyers

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RUDE BARRISTERS and solicitors face tough new fines under proposals to clamp down on poor client service outside the court room. This month's meeting of the Bar Council will be asked to recommend pay-outs of up to pounds 2,000 to clients who suffer from rude, pompous or badly behaved barristers.

The Government also says solicitors should be fined a maximum of pounds 5,000 for inadequate professional service, which includes shoddy work, unnecessary delay and rudeness. A spokesman for the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS) said the vast majority of complaints received by the Law Society were about customer service.

The number of complaints against solicitors has been rising year on year and peaked at 25,000 in the summer. Waiting times for complaints to be processed have been as long as a year.

The situation reached crisis point in the summer when Peter Ross, director of the OSS, resigned from his post.