Click2Mediate Claims Against Lawyers – ProMediate Certified ADR scheme
ProMediate has been certified by CTSI to provide ADR to Solicitors in dispute with clients under the ADR Directive.
Solicitors already have to provide details of the Legal Ombudsman to clients at the outset of their retainer. From 1 October 2015, solicitors also have to provide information to clients about a certified ADR provider when they reach the end of the internal complaints process and as to whether they will use that provider. The Legal Ombudsman has currently withdrawn its application to be certified by the Legal Services Board to provide this service.
Click2Mediate is an independent alternative dispute resolution service, which is the trading name of ProMediate (UK) Limited, which has been set up to resolve disputes between lawyers and clients in the UK, online and/or by telephone.
The mediator assigned to deal with the case will be fully qualified lawyer with experience in dealing with professional negligence disputes.
As well as putting forward details of the Legal Ombudsman, which is a statutory requirement, solicitors also have to put forward an ADR Entity to consumers under the ADR Directive. ProMediate has been certified by CTSI to deal with complaints about lawyers, under the ADR Directive.
The obligation to provide information to clients comes into effect from 1 October 2015, when at the end of the internal complaints process, the dispute has not been resolved.
There are advantages to offering mediation to clients before a complaint is made to the Ombudsman, not least because the Ombudsman may not deal with the claim if it falls outside their remit or may take into account the steps taken by the professional to resolve matters. For example, the Legal Ombudsman:
• will not consider claims which would be better dealt with in the Courts, such as negligence claims;
• will consider the steps taken by the lawyer to resolve the complaint when considering whether to charge the £400 case fee;
• is limited to payment of £50,000 compensation;
• will publicise the existence of the complaint in its statistics.
ProMediate (UK) Limited is registered with the Civil Mediation Council and can provide a quicker path to resolving a professional negligence claim or complaint.
We understand that an Ombudsman service has also been certified to operate as an ADR Entity for complaints by clients about lawyers, but we would question whether their ADR Officials have the same level of expertise as ProMediate and as we understand it, their service is a decision making one. We would also say that it would be confusing to clients potentially to offer them an Ombudsman service (as opposed to mediation), as well as informing them about the Legal Ombudsman and would just duplicate the process. Of course, Ombudsmen may start offering mediation as an alternative, but if so this would also be confusing given that the word “ombudsman” suggests that a decision will be made.
The Click2Mediate scheme is designed to save professional businesses and consumers the cost of bringing Court proceedings, which can be expensive and the business may be able to agree confidentiality and to avoid a complaint being made by offering mediation and resolving the dispute out of Court and “out of ombudsman.”
There is a membership charge to solicitors to become members of the scheme and to offer it to clients and there is also a charge per mediation. Details can be found at promediate.co.uk/complaints-about-lawyers.
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