Complaints Procedure

COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE

It is important to us that we provide services of the highest quality to all of our clients. We aim to ensure that any complaints that clients may have are identified and dealt with in accordance with this procedure.

We have an established procedure for dealing with complaints from clients. The procedure has been established so that we can resolve as many problems as possible within our offices and avoid having complaints and problems reported and escalated, and to preserve the goodwill of our clients, even if things have gone wrong.

Our procedure also assists the firm in identifying the cause of any problem of which the client has complained offering any appropriate redress, and correcting any unsatisfactory procedures. We expect honesty and realism from any employee or partner when things have gone wrong and in turn we will support all employees / partners.

Such complaints must be dealt with sympathetically and quickly. Our reputation depends on this, as it is all part of our high standard of service and incorporates client care.

Clients are notified in our Engagement letter / Terms of Business of their right to complain. If the client asks for a copy of our standard procedure, it is at this point forwarded to them in writing.

A documented review of this policy / process will take place annually to verify its effective operation across our Firm.

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.

Prospective Clients:

A complaint can also be made by a prospective client if we have:

  • Unreasonably refused a service to a complainant;
  • Persistently or unreasonably offered a service that the complainant does not want.

CLIENT’S SECTION:

Making a complaint

You can register the complaint with the person dealing with your matter or the Client Care Director. The Client Care Director Lucy Thomas is responsible for ensuring that complaints are handled effectively and in accordance with this procedure. This procedure will also apply to prospective clients who we have refused to provide a service to or persistently or unreasonably offered an unwanted service to but only if the complainant has evidence to show that we did not have reasonable grounds to do so.

The Client Care Director keeps a file / register of all complaints. The register/file include all the required details and the register is signed off when the complaint has been finalised. The Client Care Director reviews the complaints data and it also forms part of the Annual Risk Review. The complaints are reviewed to determine if there are any training requirements, changes in systems and processes which are required. This forms part of the Annual Risk Review.

Investigating the complaint

  1. We will acknowledge the complaint within seven days.
  2. We will conduct a full investigation and an independent review of the matter.
  3. We aim to respond in full within 58 days. However, if the complaint is of a more complex nature we will require more time but we will let the complainant know when they will receive a full response.
  4. We will reply to the complainant, usually in writing to tell him/her of our views on the complaint and how we propose to resolve it, hopefully to the complainant’s satisfaction – including appropriate redress – this could include a reduction in fees if appropriate, compensation or a gesture of goodwill.
  5. If the complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome, or the way the complaint has been handled, the complainant may write to the Client Care Director who will make such further investigations as are necessary.
  6. The Client Care Director will inform the complainant of the conclusions and any alternative proposals to resolve the complaint, usually within 28 days of this being referred to him/her.
  7. If still unresolved at this stage, the complainant may take their complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, 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 or alternatively 3 years from the date you should reasonably have known there are grounds for complaint (if the act/omission took place before 6 October 2010 or was more than 6 years ago).
  8. We will record and report centrally all complaints received from clients.
  9. We will identify the cause of any problems of which the client has complained offering appropriate redress and correcting any unsatisfactory procedures.

Legal Ombudsman

The Legal Ombudsman is an 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 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.

The Legal Ombudsman’s address is:

PO Box 6806,

Wolverhampton,

WV1 9WJ;

Telephone, 0300 555 0333;

Website, www.legalombudsman.org.uk;

Or email enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

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