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Vol 25 No 2 Feb/March 2020

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Ombudsmen at the Crossroads: The Legal Services Ombudsman, Dispute Resolution and Democratic Accountability

ISBN13: 9781137584458
Published: February 2017
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £49.99

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This book charts the evolution of the Legal Services Ombudsman for England and Wales. Established in 1990, it had a statutory remit that explicitly recognized its dual responsibility for consumer dispute resolution and democratic accountability. It was replaced in 2010 by a very different type of ombudsman institution. The book describes how the Ombudsman reconciled its different roles and how far it succeeded in changing the mentality of the legal profession.

The authors relate the Ombudsman's successes and failures to current debates facing the ombudsman and regulatory community, and highlight the continuing potential of the ombudsman institution. The ombudsman institution emerges as a 'third way' between the courts and various forms of alternative dispute resolution, and as a creative and democratic means of responding to public grievance.

Consumer Law
Introduction: 'Dispute Resolution' and 'Democratic Accountability'.
Chapter 1. Professional Context and Regulatory Background: 'Fat Cats' and Frustrated 'Consumers'.
Chapter 2. The LSO, Market Forces and the Challenge to Professional Self-regulation in the 1980s.
Chapter 3. The LSO in Practice 1991-1997: Democratic Accountability and the 'Creaking System'.
Chapter 4. The LSO in Practice 1998-2002: Consumer Dispute Resolution and 'The Regulatory Maze'.
Chapter 5. The LSO in Practice 2003-2010: 'Putting Consumers First'.
Chapter 6. Conclusion: The Ombuds as 'Third Way'.