Our policy concerning complaints

We are committed to providing a high-quality legal service to all our clients.  When something goes wrong we need you to tell us about it.  This will help us to improve our standards.

We want to give you the best possible service.  However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service we have provided then you should inform us immediately so that we can do our best to resolve the problem.

In the first instance it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your case to discuss your concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues at this stage.  If you would prefer not to contact the person handling your case you can speak to their supervisor.  The supervisor’s name can be found in the client care letter sent to you at the outset.  If you would like to make a formal complaint then you can read our full complaints procedure below.  Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case.

Our procedure in relation to client concerns

You have contacted us with your concerns.  We will now follow the procedure set out below. 

What will happen next?

  • The Practice Manager (or in her absence the Client Care Partner) will send you a letter acknowledging your concerns within 3 days of receiving your letter.  In that letter she will give you the name of the person who will be looking into matters for you.  It is the role of the Practice Manager to ensure that the Firm’s procedures are followed rather than investigate matters on your behalf.  
  • We will record your concerns in our central register and open a file. 
  • We will then start to investigate your concerns.  This may involve one or more of the following steps:
    • We may initially ask the member of staff who acted for you to reply to your concerns;
    • We may examine their reply and the information in your file.  We may then ask them for more information.  Alternatively the person allocated to investigate your concerns may send you a detailed reply to your concerns including our suggestions for resolving the matter.  If it is felt appropriate we may invite you to meet the Supervising Partner to discuss and hopefully resolve your concerns.  We will do this as soon as we receive all the details we need from the member of staff who acted for you.  

Timescales

  • Our timescales for a response are dependent upon the nature of the concern that you have raised and whether the file has been closed.  If the file has been closed we will need 5 working days to retrieve it from archive.
  • Once we have the file we will contact the member of staff who acted for you.   If they are no longer with the firm for whatever reason we may try to contact them to assist in our understanding of the work carried out on your behalf.  Former employees will be given 14 days to respond.  If we do seek the assistance of a former member of staff we will write to you at that stage to inform you that we are taking that step as it affects the timescale in which we will be able to respond to you.

If we invite you to meet the Supervising Partner we will do this either:

  • Within  14 days of sending you an acknowledgement letter (where the file is still open);
  • Within 19 days of sending you an acknowledgement letter (where the file has been archived);
  • Within 30 days of sending you an acknowledgement letter where we have to contact a former member of staff

The purpose of this meeting will be to greater understand your concerns. You may decline the meeting and this will not affect how we answer your concerns (as we understand them).

We will write to you within 3 days of any meeting to confirm what took place and any solutions we have agreed with you.

If your concern includes a request for repayment of fees paid or other monetary compensation then we may need up to 3 months from the receipt of your concern in order to reply fully. We may gave an initial response and assist on any urgent action that needs to be taken at our discretion. 

If we write to you without inviting you to a meeting with the Supervising Partner we will do this within 30 days of sending you an acknowledgement letter.

  • At this stage, if you are still not satisfied you can write to us again.  We will then arrange to review our decision.  This will happen in one of the following ways:
    • The Supervising Partner will review his own decision. 
    • We will arrange for someone in the firm who has not been involved in your concerns to review it.
    • Mr Simon Thomas, our Compliance Officer for Legal Practice, will review your concerns.
  • We will let you know the result of this within 28 days of receiving your request for a review.  We will also give you the name and address of the Legal Ombudsman.  Any complaint to them must be made within 6 months of the date of our final decision.  If we have to change any of the timescales above we will let you know and explain why.  If you are still not satisfied, you can contact them about your concerns.

Legal Ombudsman

The Legal Ombudsman can help you if we are unable to resolve your complaint ourselves.  They will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your case.

Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first.  If you have then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:

  • Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint; 
  • No more than six years from the date of act/omission; or
  • No more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.

If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman please contact them.

Visit: www.legalombudsman.org.uk
Call:  0300 555 0333 between 9.00 am to 5.00 pm
Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

Legal Ombudsman 
PO Box 6806
Wolverhampton 
WV1 9WJ

The Solicitors Regulation Authority

We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (Authorisation no. 70173 ). If you have a complaint about our behaviour, particularly in relation to dishonesty, financial wrongdoing or discrimination the SRA may be able to help you. Further information is available at: https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor.page and they may be contacted at Solicitors Regulation Authority, The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RN.

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