We are committed to providing a quality service to our clients and will take every reasonable step to ensure that you are happy with the service we provide and the work we carry out for you. We hope that you never feel the need to raise a complaint.
If, however, you feel unhappy with any aspect of the service which we have provided for you then it is important to raise the issue with us. You can raise it with the Solicitor dealing with your matter, (whose details are set out in your engagement letter), their supervisor (again you can find details in your engagement letter), their Head of Department or, if you prefer, you can speak to someone else here. If this doesn’t resolve the issue to your satisfaction then we will follow our formal complaints procedure with the aim of reaching a suitable resolution of the matter.
Informing us of your complaint
If you have a complaint which has not been resolved to your satisfaction, please write to our Client Care Partner, Alex Smith, and tell him what the problem is. Alternatively, please write to our Managing Partner, Lee Bramley. For the purposes of this procedure “Client Care Partner” will refer to Alex Smith. We will seek to ensure that your complaint is handled promptly, fairly and effectively. The following is the process and the timescale which we will seek to follow, unless circumstances make that not reasonably practicable, in which case we will contact you and confirm alternatively. Upon receipt of your complaint we will contact you to acknowledge your complaint and confirm the name of the person dealing with the matter. We will record it in a Central Register and let you know the next steps.
Investigating your complaint
The Client Care Partner will investigate. Our aim is to confirm the outcome of our investigation into your complaint within five weeks but if, exceptionally, this is not practicable e.g. because of the nature of the matter, the amount of documentation or absence of relevant personnel, we will let you know how long it will take. We may need to contact you to clarify your complaint or certain matters and will either do this in writing, by telephone or by inviting you to a meeting. The Client Care Partner will then write to you to confirm the outcome and any solution (if applicable) which he has agreed with you.
If you are still not satisfied you can write to us again in which case another partner of the firm will review the Client Care Partner’s decision and respond to you within a further five weeks, confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons.
Solicitors Regulation Authority
If for any reason we were unable to resolve the problem between us, then we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Complaints and redress mechanisms are provided through the SRA and, if you are eligible (please see below), through the Legal Ombudsman (“LeO”).
If you are not satisfied with the handling of your complaint then you may contact LeO if you are instructing us as:
1.1 a private individual;
1.2 a small business with less than 10 employees and whose annual turnover or assets does not exceed €2 million;
1.3 a charity with an annual income net of tax of less than £1 million at the time at which the complaint is made;
1.4 a club, association or organisation, the affairs of which are managed by its members or a committee if its members, with an annual income net of tax of less than £1 million at the time at which the complaint is made;
1.5 a trustee of a trust with an asset value of less than £1 million at the time at which the complaint is made.
LeO will look at your complaint independently, and it will not affect how we handle your case. Before accepting a complaint for investigation, LeO will normally require that the firm has been given eight weeks in which to follow its formal complaints procedure and this has been exhausted. He may decline to investigate further if he is satisfied that proposals for resolution were reasonable.
If you wish to take your complaint to LeO you must do so:
1.1 within six months from receiving a final written response from us about your complaint; and
1.2 no more than six years from the act/omission you are complaining about (or, if later, three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint)
The Legal Ombudsman’s contact details are:
Helpline – 0300 555 0333
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Website – www.legalombudsman.org.uk
Address – PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
You may also exercise our complaints procedure in the event that you are dissatisfied with any bill which we issue to you. If you are eligible, you may make a complaint about a bill to the Legal Ombudsman. You may also have the right to object to the bill by applying to the Court for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. However, if you do so, the Legal Ombudsman may not consider a complaint about the bill. Please note that if all or part of a bill remains unpaid we may be entitled to charge interest.