In the Media

Chief legal ombudsman quits in accounts row

PUBLISHED November 19, 2014

The chief legal ombudsman has resigned following a dispute in relation to the unpublished annual accounts of the complaints service.

A spokesman for the office said this morning: 'We can confirm that Adam Sampson has resigned as chief ombudsman and chief executive'.

Sampson (pictured) stepped down yesterday to bring an end to more than five years in the post following his suspension last week following an investigation into 'governance issues', the Ministry of Justice said. 

The row is believed to be about expenses claimed in the 2013/14 annual accounts. These were due to be published in June but have yet to appear.

The Legal Ombudsman's Office said last week that the accounts were finished and had been filed with the National Audit Office and MoJ for approval.

Sampson was a high-profile and visible figure, often appearing at conferences to explain ombudsman policy and creating a regular online blog on the ombudsman website.

He previously worked as chief executive of the homeless charity Shelter and has served on a number of non-governmental bodies.

A spokesman for the MoJ confirmed that permanent secretary Ursula Brennan has been temporarily installed as the account officer for the Legal Ombudsman.

He added: 'Last Thursday we suspended the chief executive of the Office of Legal Complaints from his role as the organisation's accounting officer, following an investigation into concerns raised about governance issues.'

The office of the LeO was created in 2010 under the Legal Services Act to replace the Legal Complaints Service. Sampson was the first chief ombudsman.

In his first interview in the role he told the Gazette that some of the office's approaches would 'challenge the cultural assumptions of the profession'.

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