This factsheet explains how we look at complaints when you (or the person on behalf of you) may have a legal remedy available in the Courts.

Examples of legal remedies which may be available if you are unhappy with the way a public body in Wales has treated you include:

  • a claim of clinical negligence in health cases
  • a claim of breach of contract if a public body has failed to do something it is contractually required to do
  • a claim for damages if a public body (or someone carrying out works on its behalf) has caused damage to a person’s property.

The law which applies when it appears that you have the option of following a legal remedy against a public body

The Public Services Ombudsman (Wales) Act 2019 says that we cannot investigate complaints about public bodies getting things wrong if you  have or may have a legal remedy available through the Courts.

The exception to this rule is if we are satisfied that the circumstances of your case mean that it is not reasonable to expect you to take or to have taken legal action. If so, we may investigate complaints about public bodies in Wales getting things wrong in the usual way. More information is available in our ‘What we do when we get your complaint about a public body in Wales’ factsheet, on the ‘Factsheet’ page, under the ‘About Us’ tab.


What we will do if it appears from your complaint that you have a legal remedy available to you

For us to fairly decide whether or not it is reasonable for you to take legal action against the public body you are complaining about , we may ask for information such as:

  • your personal circumstances and the reasons why you do not believe you are able to take legal action against the public body
  • the remedy or outcome you are looking for
  • whether you have asked a solicitor and/or have legal insurance or legal aid to help fund any legal action


Issues to bear in mind

More detailed information on what action we can ask a public body to take to resolve your complaint can be found in our Remedies factsheet on the ‘Factsheet’ page, under the ‘Complaints about public service providers – our process’’ tab.

If the remedy you are looking for is one which the Courts generally award, then we may conclude that Court action is the appropriate route for you to follow. An example of this is significant financial compensation. If you are looking for a number of different remedies, for example, an apology, answers to your questions about the way you have been treated and financial compensation, then we will carefully look at the information you give us when deciding whether it is appropriate for us to consider your complaint.

If you choose not to take legal action when this appears to have been an option available to you at the time of the events you are complaining about, this will be taken into consideration.


Contact us

If you are not sure whether we would be able to look into your complaint, please contact us on 0300 790 0203 or

Also available in Welsh.