Report by the Legal Ombudsman


On the 28 February the Legal Ombudsman office released a report commenting on the 7,500 complaints it handled between 2011-2012.  The Report states that family law accounted for 18% of all complaints, making it the most complained about area of law.

The report can be found here:

It is worth noting a few key points about this area of law, and how it differs from other areas which could go some way to explaining the reasons behind those figures, some of which were highlighted in Ian Davies’ radio interview with Malcolm Boyden, on BBC Oxford on 17 January 2013, which can be found here:

1      Divorce is a distress purchase; no one wants to spend money on something that is making them unhappy.  The family law environment involves a great deal of emotion, far more than other areas of law.  If people are not satisfied with the outcome of their case, regardless of the advice they have received, they often seek recourse elsewhere.  Our family law solicitors want to ensure that you can get the best settlement possible but also that your expectations are realistic.  We want our clients to work with us to achieve both those objectives.

2      Divorce/separation is one of the most stressful periods in a person’s life.  People deal with stress differently and not necessarily in a way which is advantageous to them or their other half.  When people begin to lose sight of what they should be focussing on, and instead focus their energies on retaliation or point scoring, despite a solicitor’s best endeavours the costs can rise quickly and this then becomes the sole focus for the client leading to dissatisfaction.  As hard as it may be to keep emotions in check this is essential if costs are not to escalate.

3      All our family law solicitors are members of Resolution and a keystone of the Resolution Code of Practice is that we should conduct the proceedings in a constructive and non-confrontational way.  Unfortunately not all family law solicitors are members of Resolution and there are some clients who want to deliberately inflame a situation.

4      The law in this area needs reform, and has done for some time.  If the law was amended to remove some of the inevitable antagonism that arises, this could only benefit separating couples.


Ian Davies

Senior Solicitor

Hine Solicitors, Oxford.

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