Section 136: Charges payable by respondents
350.The OLC will be partly funded through “case fees” payable, subject to the exceptions set out below, by respondents (i.e. those legal professionals who are the subject of complaints). By section 136(2), scheme rules must provide for fees to be waived or wholly refunded where:
the complaint is determined or otherwise resolved in favour of the respondent; and
where the ombudsman is satisfied that the respondent took all reasonable steps to try and resolve the complaint under the respondent’s complaints procedures.
351.Section 136(4) defines the scope of the respondent’s complaints procedures.
352.In accordance with section 136(5), scheme rules may also provide for case fees to be reduced, waived or refunded in other circumstances. This subsection also allows the rules to set different charges for different stages of a complaint.
353.Scheme rules can provide that unpaid case fees incur interest and, by virtue of section 136(6), unpaid case fees can be recovered by the OLC as a debt.
354.The OLC will, as is the procedure with all scheme rules, be obliged to consult and gain the Board’s approval before making rules on case fees under this section and, in addition, (by virtue of section 155) must also obtain the consent of the Lord Chancellor.