Refusing to Provide a Service

16 Feb 2015
The Legal Ombudsman (LEO) will now accept complaints from prospective clients where a person has unreasonably been refused a service. How can you demonstrate that you acted properly when refusing this prospective client?

There are several situations where refusing to act is perfectly acceptable, including that you do not undertake the sort of work the client is looking for; you are not certain that the client can fund the work requested and you do not have the resources to take on this matter.

When you refuse to provide a service to a client, you should always provide them a reason, preferably in writing for that refusal.

Given the changes to what LEO will accept as a complaint, you may wish to consider always recording what has happened when a client has been refused a service, especially if the client appeared angry or upset about the refusal.

LEO would not normally expect the full complaints procedure to be followed – just a short explanation of why you refused to act should be enough.

The person making the complaint will need to show there was no legitimate reason for the refusal to provide the service. They will also need to show there has been a financial loss or that they have been unreasonably inconvenience by the refusal.


INSPIRING are one of the three Lexcel assessment bodies licenced by the Law Society. We have a team of qualified assessors across the UK working with a diverse range of clients, including practices from both the private and public sectors, and in-house legal departments. See our Lexcel home page for more information.

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