27 August 2005

Your Ref: 9724
The parliamentary Ombudsman's Ref: C.1775/05

Dr Howard Stoate MP
House of Commons

Dear Sir

Re: A referral to the Parliamentary Ombudsman.

Thank you for your undated letter but post marked 25 July '05 which contained a letter from the Parliamentary Ombudsman Office stating my complaint will be considered by Ann Abraham. Unlike my referral concerning the Information Commissioner I do note a referral concerning the Legal Services Ombudsman does fall within Ann Abraham's remit.

I realise that Ms Abraham's first thoughts might be that the present LSO's primary role is to see that the CCS carries out an investigation within the 'rules' and not for her to carry out an investigation herself. However if Ms Abraham looks at the LSO's rule book, which she would know well, it states "What the Ombudsman will do is check that all your complaints were addressed…" then later states "If the Ombudsman decides that the professional body didn't investigate your complaints properly or didn't investigate them at all, she will recommend that they reconsider some or all of your complaints". As the LSO did not follow either of these steps from her rule book one would believe that she was then taking the third option "However, the Ombudsman can widen her investigation to look at your original complaints, if she does this she may make a recommendation against the lawyer who you are complaining about".

A further rule in the LSO's 'rule book' states "…they refused to investigate your complaint" ('they' being the CCS). If Ms Abraham looks at my file it will be seen the Law Society (CCS) advised me to make a complaint against my solicitors on the grounds they were not honouring the 'Client Care Agreement' (Practice Rule 15) and over two years later when my complaint got to be investigated by the CCS the Senior Partner, Gordon Luckhurst, admitted he mishandled my request to take up my grievance with him. The CCS "refused to investigate" the non-compliance of 'rule 15' (the reason they advised me to make a complaint) so I would have expected the LSO to refer it back to the CCS to be investigated as the LSO didn't do this I assumed she would carry out the investigation herself. Let me further quote the LSO's rule book "She will always look at what you have to say and, if she can't help, she will tell you why", let me further quote Ms Manzoor "Remember it's your right to have your complaint investigated and you should pursue it because, hopefully, it can be mediated and conciliated to everyone's satisfaction" and if you look at what she said when she was questioned in Parliament "A robust approach needs to be taken to enforce, for instance for solicitors from the Law Society, Rule 15, which says very clearly that solicitors have to have a written complaints-handling procedure and they have to log all the complaints that they receive...". Somebody needs to tell me why the LSO enforced rule 15 in the case of a woman then at the same time would not treat a man equally.

After you have read the enclosed letter dated 28 April '05 (Doc.1) which I wrote to the LSO's office it will be seen, I believe, that Ms Manzoor is guilty of 'Sexual Discrimination' and in that letter I asked (last paragraph) that she gives some answers, as she did not reply I have decided to take the matter further. I received a letter from Ms Manzoor's solicitors dated 5 August '05 (Doc.2) and enclosed is my reply (Doc.3) that lays out my allegation that she did not treat me equal to that of a woman (Doc.3 can be accessed with all 'Links' live at: - www.solicitorsfromhell.com/Mace&Jones.htm ).

Further to my 'Referral' to the Parliamentary Ombudsman that now mainly has come down to 'unfair' and/or 'unequal' treatment, let me quote from the Internet: -
In most cases, public-sector ombudsmen can only review how a decision was made and determine whether there was maladministration? (bad administrative practice) in the decision-making and whether an individual suffered an injustice as a result. Examples of maladministration include:
" not following its own policies or procedures
" rudeness
" delay in taking action
" failing to take action
" treating a complainant unfairly in relation to others
" giving wrong or misleading information
" administrative mishandling

What is Maladministration
The law says the Ombudsman must look for 'maladministration'. The definition of maladministration is very wide and can include:
" delay
" incorrect action or failure to take any action
" failure to follow procedures or the law
" failure to provide information
" inadequate record-keeping
" failure to investigate
" failure to reply
" misleading or inaccurate statements
" inadequate liaison
" inadequate consultation
" broken promises
The Ombudsman does not usually criticise the merits of a decision which has been properly taken simply because someone may disagree with it. He or she will however look at the way the decision was made.

Let me quote a couple;
" treating a complainant unfairly in relation to others" not much doubt that I was not treated equal to that of a woman.
" broken promises" just look at the promises/undertakings Ms Manzoor gave in Parliament on 4th May 2004 about 'enforcing rule 15 and training for solicitors who don't comply.
" failure to investigate" Ms Manzoor failed to investigate why rule 15 was not 'enforced.
" not following its own policies or procedures" the only time the Law Society follow any "policies or procedures" is when it suits their purposes.

If you read my website I could go on forever but you have to wonder if anybody ever listens or hears what you are saying.

Finally in a letter from the Parliamentary Ombudsman Office dated 19 August '05 I was told they will give a "substantive consideration" to my referral in due course.

Yours sincerely