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, whether verbal or written, 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 the complaint within seven days which allows for any postal delays and notify you who will be handling your complaint.
- We will record your complaint in our central register and open a file for your complaint. We will conduct a full investigation and an independent review of the matter.
- We aim to respond in full within 28 days. However, if the complaint is of a more complex nature, we will require more time, but we will let you know when you will receive a full response. We may also invite you to meet with the Supervisor to gather more information and resolve the matter.
- We will reply to you, usually in writing following the outcome of the review of the complaints investigated.
If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome, or the way the complaint has been handled, you may write to the Client Care Partner who will make such further investigations as are necessary.
We would generally aim to do this within 28 days.
The Client Care Partner will inform you of the conclusions and any alternative proposals to resolve the complaint.
If still unresolved at this stage or 8 weeks from the complaint being made, 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.
In October 2022, the Legal Ombudsman announced proposed changes to the scheme which will take effect from 1 April 2023. The precise details are yet to be confirmed, but are described here:
5) THE SOLICITORS REGULATION AUTHORITY
The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help you 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.
You can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
6) ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION SCHEMES
Alternative complaints bodies (eg 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.