Howells Client Care and Complaints Policy

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 ?

(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:

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:

Please note you will have to bring your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within 6 months of receiving a final response from us about your complaint and 6 years from the date of the act or omission giving rise to the complaint , or alternatively 3 years from the date you should reasonably have known there are grounds for complaint (if the act/omission took place before 6 October 2010 or was more than 6 years ago).

We will remind you of these timescales when we write to you with the outcome of the complaint.

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.