Legal Services Ombudsman Act 2009

Power to require provision of information.

26.— (1) For the purpose of investigating a complaint, the Legal Services Ombudsman may—

(a) require any person who, in the Ombudsman’s opinion, is in possession of information, or has a document or thing in the person’s possession or control, that is relevant to the investigation to provide the Ombudsman with that information, document or thing, and

(b) where appropriate, require the person to attend before the Ombudsman for that purpose,

and the person shall comply with such a requirement.

(2) The Legal Services Ombudsman may not require a barrister or solicitor to provide any information, document or thing that is held in the possession or control of the barrister or solicitor on behalf of a client, unless that client has, in writing, authorised its release.

(3) A person to whom a requirement is addressed under subsection (1) is entitled to the same immunities and privileges as if the person were a witness before the High Court.

(4) A person to whom a requirement is addressed under subsection (1) may, within a period of 21 days after being notified of the requirement, apply to the High Court for an order to revoke or vary the requirement.

(5) On an application under subsection (4), the High Court may revoke or vary the requirement in respect of which the application is made if satisfied that the information, document or thing is not reasonably required for the purpose of the investigation or determination of the complaint and, in addition, the Court may make such order as it sees fit in relation to the application.

(6) If it appears to the Legal Services Ombudsman that a person has failed to comply with a requirement made under subsection (1), the High Court may, on application in that behalf made by the Ombudsman, make an order requiring that person to comply with that requirement.