MAKING A COMPLAINT
You can register the complaint with the person dealing with your matter or the Complaints Partner directly. The Complaints Partner, Nick Price, 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 claimant has evidence to show that we did not have reasonably grounds to do so. The Complaints Partner 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 Complaints Partner 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 28 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 complainants 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 Complaints Handling Partner who will make such further investigations as are necessary.
6. The Complaints Handling Partner 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.
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. 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 (if the act/omission took place before 6 October 2010 or was more than 6 years ago).
The Legal Ombudsman’s address is:
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.
The SRA does not have the power to award compensation for poor service, or to reduce or refund your legal fees. If your report relates to these issues you will be signposted back to the Legal Ombudsman.
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION SCHEMES
Alternative complaints bodies [Ombudsman Services, ProMediate and Small Claims Mediation] 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.
CONTRACTS ENTERED INTO ONLINE
If we are unable to resolve your complaint which relates to a contract entered into online, you may contact the Online Dispute Resolution providers by accessing the following link http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr