We aim to provide a high quality legal service to our clients. When something goes wrong, we need to know about it so that we can put things right and improve our standards.
The procedure outlined below also helps us to identify and address any systemic failings or areas of bad practice. Where appropriate, we will apologise and in some cases offer recompense to those who complain.
Formal Complaint can be brought by any client, potential client or someone authorised to do so on their behalf about our services or our charges.
There are occasions where clients express concerns which can properly be dealt with swiftly and resolved informally by the Supervisor of the staff member with conduct of the matter. If the matter is not resolved it should be referred to the Complaints Handler, Fatiha Begum.
- A Formal Complaint is defined as:
- A substantial expression of dissatisfaction
- Made by any means of communication
- About an alleged act or omission of, or the general standard of service provided by, the firm’s employees, consultants or agents
- Which the complainant alleges has led or may lead to the complainant suffering financial loss, distress, inconvenience or other detriment
- Which requires investigation and a response
- Which, if upheld, could result in an apology and/or recompense.
The Complaints Handler will deal with the Formal Complaint promptly, fairly, openly and effectively.
The Complaints Handler will:
1. Confirm the complainant’s preferred method of communication and help them understand the process. Although it does assist if the complaint is put in writing, complainants can communicate with the Complaints Handler in any way they wish.
2. Acknowledge receipt of any Formal Complaint within 5 working days.
3. Normally provide a substantive response within 15 working days. If more time is required then the complainant will be informed of the reasons for this, with 8 weeks normally being the maximum length of time for any final response to be provided.
In order to provide the substantive response, the Complaints Handler will:
a. Embark upon an investigation of the circumstances of the case by undertaking a fact finding exercise being impartial, open, transparent and proportionate to the seriousness of the complaint.
b. Establish where possible what the complainant wants as an outcome.
c. Identify the cause of the problem and offer any appropriate redress and correct anyun satisfactory procedures.
d. Inform the complainant at the conclusion of the investigation of their right to take the matter to the Legal Ombudsman should they wish to do so and provide their contact details.
The Complaints Handler will keep a central record of complaints which is reviewed quarterly by the director.
The Legal Ombudsman
If we are unable to satisfactorily resolve the Complaint then the complainant will be informed of their right to take the matter to the Legal Ombudsman. Before a complainant approaches the Ombudsman, they must usually have already made a Formal Complaint to us.
The Legal Ombudsman will not normally consider a complaint unless:
1. It is made within 6 months of the complainant receiving a final response from us; and
2. It is made in relation to an act or omission that took place after 5 October 2010 (or the complainant should reasonably have known about the cause of complaint after that date); and
3. It is made no later than 6 years from the date of the act or omission or 3 years from when the complainant should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
A referral to the Legal Ombudsman is generally not available to the following clients:-
- most businesses (unless they are defined as micro enterprises)
- charities or clubs with an annual income of more £1m, or
- trustees of trusts with asset value of more than £1m
Further guidance is available at: www.legalombudsman.org.uk
The Legal Ombudsman can be contacted by:
Telephone: 0300 555 0333
Post: PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
This Complaints Policy and Procedure is intended to comply with the Legal Ombudsman’s Scheme Rules, as last updated on 16 April 2018.
This Complaints Policy and Procedure was last reviewed on 22 May 2020.