The ombudsman has reported that residential conveyancing was the biggest cause of complaints for 2020/21.
Family law (14%), personal injury and wills and probate (13%) and litigation (8%) were the next highest areas of complaint. The ombudsman found evidence of poor service in 55% of complaints, up from 51% in 2019/20.
Chief ombudsman Paul McFadden said: ‘It is clear that there is an underlying core of dissatisfaction with legal service provision, expressed through the complaints system, that is not changing or being sufficiently addressed.’
The findings come as oversight regulators were expected to vote through a 5.8% budget increase for the legal ombudsman.
The Legal Services Board said a revised £15.3m budget for 2022/23 will give the Office for Legal Complaints the chance to stabilise and produce ‘sustainable and acceptable’ performance over the next 24 months.
The regulator acknowledged the current backlog is 1,457 higher than predicted a year ago and case closures are 10% below target
The ombudsman currently has 6,143 cases waiting to be opened but pledges this will fall to below 1000 by 2023/24. This will be achieved by increasing case closures from 6,246 this year to more than 10,000 in 2022/23.