Complaints Handling Procedure
Complaints Handling Procedure
- We are committed to meeting the highest quality standard in the delivery of the services we provide to you. We take very seriously any problems that arise with our clients and aim to ensure that any complaints raised are identified quickly and dealt with thoroughly under this procedure.
- Every client has the benefit of a single Director contact (“the Responsible Partner”) and that person will take responsibility for the work being carried out for you. Quite often, some or all, of your work will be delegated under the supervision of the Responsible Partner or other Partners. The Responsible Partner will make every effort to ensure that the standard of service provided by the firm meets your expectations. Details of the Responsible Partner are in the engagement letter you will have received.
- This Complaints Procedure tells you how we will deal with your complaint and how long it is likely to take. It also provides you with important information about what you can do if you are not happy with the way in which we are dealing with your complaint, or about our final decision. We will ensure we deal with your complaint promptly, fairly and free of charge.
To whom can you complain?
If you have any concerns about our service, our work or our charges, you should discuss these first with the individual with whom you have day-to-day contact. If this person cannot satisfactorily address your concerns, you can register your complaint with Margaret Simpson, a Director in the firm who has responsibility for complaints. Her contact details are in the engagement letter you will have received.
How will we investigate your complaint?
- Your complaint will be acknowledged within 5 working days and logged centrally so that we can monitor progress on how it is being handled.
- Our aim is to respond in full within 28 days. If your complaint is more complex, we will require more time and we will let you know when you will receive a full response.
- An independent review of your file will be conducted.
- We hope to have a dialogue with you that aims to resolve the issues you raise.
- We will respond to your complaint and let you know how we propose to resolve it, hopefully to your satisfaction.
- Our aim is that all complaints are resolved within 8 weeks from receipt of your complaint.
- If your complaint is not resolved within 8 weeks, you have a right to refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsmen.
The Legal Ombudsman
The Legal Ombudsman is an independent organization that deals with complaints against solicitors. You must refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving our final written response to your using this Complaints Procedure.
There are also time limits that apply to the date you first became aware, or should have become aware, of the problem causing your complaint. The relevant time limits are set out in the Legal Ombudsman’s Scheme Rules (Scheme rules 130201 – Pdf (browsealoud.com)) and may only be extended by the Legal Ombudsman in exceptional circumstances. Currently, those Scheme Rules* state that you must refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman no later than six years from the act/omission or three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
Ordinarily, you cannot use the Legal Ombudsman unless you have first attempted to resolve your complaint using our Complaints Procedure, but you will be able to contact the Legal Ombudsman if:
- The complaint has not been resolved to your satisfaction within eight weeks of first making the complaint to us; or
- The Legal Ombudsman decides that there are exceptional reasons why the Legal Ombudsman should consider your complaint sooner, or without you having to use our internal Complaints Procedure first; or
- The Legal Ombudsman considers that your complaint cannot be resolved using our Internal Complaints Procedure because the relationship between you and us has broken down irretrievably.
- If you wish to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, you must be one of the following:
- An individual;
- A micro-enterprise as defined in European Recommendation 2003/361/EC of 6th May 2003 (broadly, an enterprise with fewer than 10 staff and a turnover or balance sheet value not exceeding £2 million);
- A Charity with an annual income of less than £1 million;
- A Club, Association or Society with an annual income of less than £1 million.
- A Trustee of a Trust with a net asset value less than £1 million; or
- A Personal Representative or the Residuary Beneficiaries of an Estate where a person with a complaint died before referring it to the Legal Ombudsman.
Legal Ombudsman contact details
Address: PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
Telephone: 0300 555 0333
If you have a complaint about our behavior
The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help you if you are concerned about our behavior. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money, or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristics.
The SRA deals with cases where firms or those the SRA regulates have breached the SRA Principles. Most of the time, complaints about solicitors are about poor service and therefore should be sent to the Legal Ombudsman. If the Legal Ombudsman thinks your case involves a breach of the SRA Principles, they will refer your case to the SRA. Likewise, if you report a solicitor to the SRA for poor service, they will refer you to the Legal Ombudsman; The SRA does not have the power to award compensation for poor service, or to reduce or refund your legal fees.
There is information about the SRA’s Principles and Standards here: SRA | Standards and Regulations resources | Solicitors Regulation Authority
Solicitors Regulation Authority
199 Wharfside Street
Website : www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor.page/
*The Legal Ombudsman Scheme Rules will be changing on 1st April 2023: there will be significant changes to the time limits for bringing a complaint. Please read the Scheme Rules.
v2 January 2023