"Solicitors to the Waveney Valley since 1790"

A formal complaint was lodged with the Legal Complaints Service (LCS) regarding Sprake and Kingsley, solicitors in Bungay and Beccles, Norfolk.  The response from the Legal Complaints Service was that Mr. Kingsley did indeed provide exceedingly poor service to one of his clients and judged the seriousness of the poor service to be "extremely serious", the worst of the four possible possible categories.  Compensation of £1500 was considered appropriate by the LCS, but has not been paid by the firm because the firm only offered a credit note!!!.  Click here to read the final summary received from the Legal Complaints Service (PDF file)

Before raising the complaint with the LCS we attempted to negotiate a settlement with Mr. Sprake and Mr. Kingsley in order to avoid the considerable work involved in referring the complaint to the LCS.  In a letter to me dated 11 August 2008 Mr. Sprake said there was "no justification to offer [Mrs Johnson] any compensation and I am certainly not prepared to pay compensation simply on the threat of a referral to the Legal Complaints Service to avoid further work for both of us.  That is the end of the matter as far as our complaints procedure is concerned" 

But the LCS subsequently ruled that there was justification for Mrs. Johnson to receive compensation.   If Mr. Sprake had been willing to negotiate with us in August we could all have avoided much work and this web site and the LCS report could have been avoided.

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Should adjudications of the Legal Complaints Service be kept secret?

In 2008 the Legal Complaints Service completed a public consultation on whether its findings against individual solicitors should be published.  The preferred option of the LCS was to publish:

• summaries of upheld, adjudicated complaints with appropriate contextual information (general and firm-specific)

• complaints recorded against the name of the firm acting at the time the complaint arose and retained on record for three years from publication

• on a ‘clean sheet’ basis (only in relation to complaints received by the LCS after a specified date in the future)

• at quarterly intervals

• on the internet, with paper copies available via email or telephone request.

Most organisations consulted were strongly in favour of publication, especially consumers and consumer groups:  read all the details  However, most individual solicitors, and the Law Society were not in favour of publication, their reason being that they "had significant concerns about the possible impact on individual solicitors, individual firms and the profession as a whole".  

Following this extensive consultation the LCS decided to accept the view of the Law Society, and ignore  both their own recommendation and the views of everyone else outside the legal profession:  they decided not to publish their findings!  

As a public service I publish here the serious complaint recently upheld against Sprake and Kingsley, and I encourage others with LCS findings to also publish them.

The Legal Complaints Service are supposed to be independant of the Law Society, which is just as well considering the Law Society is the extremely effective solicitor's trade union.

Peter Seaman

Director, Railtrack (Anglia) Ltd

email me: Peter.Seaman.Sprakes@Stable-Software.co.uk