We aim to provide a high quality service to all of our clients. When something goes wrong we need you to tell us about it. This will help us to improve our service.
At first we would ask you to raise any concerns about our service with the person who is handling your case , or, if you are not happy doing this, with their supervisor. You will have been informed who their supervisor is in the letter you were sent at the start of your case.
If this does not sort things out to your satisfaction, and you want to make a formal complaint, then you can contact the Partner who looks after customer complaints in the department dealing with your case.
The Complaints Partners are:
Civil Law: Graham Hogarth
Family Law: Alyson Siddall
Criminal Law: Mary Rose Macadam
If for any reason any of them are unable to deal with your complaint, or they are the person you are complaining about, you will be told who will be dealing with it instead.
What happens after you have complained ?
- We will contact you within 5 days to acknowledge your complaint and to make sure that we have understood your complaint correctly.
- The investigation should not normally take any longer than 8 weeks from the date that we have received confirmation of what your complaint is about.
- We will however endeavour to deal with the complaint as quickly as possible and can often deal with the complaint in a shorter period than 8 weeks.
- Once the complaint has been investigated we will write to you with our decision giving you details of any further action that is to be taken to address your concerns. If you are happy with the outcome of the investigation then we will record the complaint as resolved.
(This procedure will also apply to prospective clients who we have refused to provide a service to, or persistently or unreasonably offered an unwanted service to but only if the complainant has evidence to show that we did not have reasonable grounds to do so)
What if you are not happy with the outcome of the investigation?
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of our investigation into your complaint or if your complaint has not been concluded within the agreed timescale, then you have the right to have your complaint investigated by the Legal Ombudsman, which is a fully independent body with official powers to resolve customer complaints about legal services. They can be contacted:
- By telephone on 0300 555 0333
- By post at PO Box 6086 Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ
- By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk
However, please be aware that the Ombudsman will not normally become involved unless you have given us the opportunity to deal with your complaint through our own procedures in the first instance.
The Legal Ombudsman may:
- Investigate the quality of professional service supplied by a solicitor to a client.
- Investigate allegations that a solicitor has breached rules of professional conduct.
- Investigate allegations that a solicitor has unreasonably refused to supply a professional service to a prospective client.
- Investigate allegations that a solicitor has persistently or unreasonably offered a professional service that the client does not want.
The Legal Ombudsman expects complaints to be made to them within one year of the date of the act or omission about which you are concerned or within one year of you realising there was a concern. You must also refer your concerns to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of our final response to you.
Alternative complaints bodies such as promediate www.promediate.co.uk are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme.
There may however be a charge to use the services of such bodies. Also, they can only help mediate and cannot, unlike the Legal Ombudsman, make a decision that in the absence of an agreement reached between the parties, binds either party. If no agreement is reached between the parties through mediation then the matter would have to proceed to the Legal Ombudsman in any event.
For these reasons we do not propose using an alternative complaints body and would suggest instead that your complaint proceeds direct to the Legal Ombudsman if you are unhappy with our decision.
Solicitors Regulation Authority
In addition we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. They work with solicitors firms such as ours to make sure we comply with our Principles, to make sure we behave independently, fairly and with integrity to best serve the interests of our clients and the public interest.
Please note the SRA are not able to deal with issues of poor service, the Legal Ombudsman deals with complaints of poor service that we are unable to resolve.
Examples of where the SRA could help include:
- Shutting down our firm without telling you.
- Dishonesty or deliberately overcharging you.
- Taking or losing your money.
- Treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic.
The SRA have useful guidance and resources in relation to reporting your solicitor on their website www.sra.org.uk
If we are unable to resolve your complaint which relates to a contract entered online, you may contact the Online Dispute Resolution providers by accessing the following link http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr