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 deal with all complaints fairly, promptly and at no extra cost to you.
1. WHAT IS A COMPLAINT?
A report by a client that their expectations of what they consider to be a good service have not been met.
2. MAKING A COMPLAINT
You can register a complaint with the person dealing with your matter or their supervisor, details of which are given in your initial Client Care Letter.
In the first instance, we’d prefer if you write to us with full details of your complaint so that we have a good understanding of the issues being highlighted.
3. INVESTIGATING THE COMPLAINT
We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint in writing within seven days which allows for any postal delays and notify you who will be handling your complaint.
We will then investigate your complaint. This will normally involve our complaints officer reviewing your file and speaking to the lawyer who acted for you and any other member of staff within the team responsible for your matter.
Within 14 days of sending, you the acknowledgement letter our complaints officer will invite you to a meeting to discuss and resolve your complaint. If you do not want a meeting or it is not possible for any other reason to have a meeting, our complaints officer may instead offer you an opportunity to discuss the matter by telephone.
Within three days of the meeting, or any telephone discussion we have with you instead of a meeting, our complaints officer will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions we have agreed with you.
In any case he will send you a detailed written reply to your complaint, including his suggestions for resolving the matter, within 21 days of sending you the written acknowledgement of your complaint referred to in paragraph 1 above.
At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, you should contact us again and we will arrange for someone unconnected with the matter at the firm to review the decision of our complaints officer.
We will write to you within 14 days of receiving your request for a review, confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons.
If we have to change any of these timescales, we will let you know and explain why.
In the vast majority of cases, following this procedure will result in an amicable resolution of your complaint.
If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome, or the way the complaint has been handled, you may write to our Complaints Officer, Mr Rohit Sanghvi on email@example.com or at Sherwood House 176 Northolt Road South Harrow HA2 0EP who will make such further investigations as are necessary.
We would generally aim to do this within 14 days. This will happen in one of the following ways –
The Supervisor will review his/her own decision.
The Complaints Officer will review your complaint within 14 days.
The Complaints Officer will inform you of the conclusions and any alternative proposals to resolve the complaint.
If still unresolved at this stage, you may take the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman or, in accordance with the Alternative Dispute Resolution Regulations to an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Scheme Provider. We will issue a final letter advising you of this.
4. LEGAL OMBUDSMAN
The Legal Ombudsman is the independent body established by the Office for Legal Complaints under the Legal Services Act 2007 to deal with complaints against Solicitors.
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.
Before it will consider a complaint the Legal Ombudsman generally requires that the firm’s internal Complaints Procedure (outlined above) has been exhausted. If the Legal Ombudsman is satisfied that the firm’s proposals for resolving a complaint are reasonable, it may decline to investigate further. 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. Alternatively, 3 years from the date you should reasonably have known there are grounds for complaint.
However, please note that from 1 April 2023 these time limits are changing. From the 1 April the Legal Ombudsman expects complaints to be made to them within a year of the date of the act or omission about which you are concerned or within a year of you realising there was a concern. The requirement to refer your concerns to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of our final response to you remains the same.
The Legal Ombudsman’s address and contact details are:
PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ; telephone, 0300 555 0333; website, www.legalombudsman.org.uk; or email firstname.lastname@example.org
5. ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION SCHEMES
Alternative complaints bodies, such as ProMediate exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme.
However, we don’t currently agree to use this Alternative Dispute Resolution service in view of the availability of the independent Legal Ombudsman Service established under the Legal Services Act 2007. We are bound by our Regulatory Code to comply with the Legal Ombudsman.
6. What to do if you are unhappy with our behaviour
The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help if you are concerned about our behaviour. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic.
Visit its website to see how you can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
7. What will it cost?
We will not charge you for handling your complaint.
Please note that if we have issued a bill for work done on the matter, and all or some of the bill is not paid, we may be entitled to charge interest on the amount outstanding. This is explained in our Terms of Business.
The Legal Ombudsman service is free of charge.
You may have the right to object to our bill(s) by applying to the court for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.