We are committed to high quality legal advice and client care. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you have received you are entitled to complain. This includes the right to complain about costs or a bill that has been raised by the firm. We will do our best to address any dissatisfaction you have experienced in using the services of this firm.
We deal with complaints promptly, fairly and without charge. These investigations may also lead us to consider how we might change our processes in some way.
How do I complain?
Firstly, discuss your dissatisfaction with the fee earner who has conduct of your case.
If you are not satisfied with the response then please inform our Complaints Handling Manager, David Waterhouse. It is helpful if you put your concerns in writing by post to our office address or by email to [email protected]. If you would prefer not to, or if you would find it difficult to do so, then you can contact him by telephone on 01827 311411.
If you have any special needs which we should take into account due to language or disability then please let us know.
What happens to my complaint?
Once a formal complaint is received by our Complaints Handling Manager, you will receive an acknowledgment within seven days. The acknowledgment will provide a timescale for a substantive response.
Our Complaints Handling Manager will thoroughly investigate the complaint. This will include reviewing the file, discussing the matter with the relevant department and reviewing any necessary documents.
What will I receive?
A detailed reply will follow by letter, usually within twenty-one days. The reply will include an explanation of the investigation and any appropriate action taken.
We may require further time to respond, for example, if many documents have to be considered before responding, files have to retrieved from storage, or the nature of the case and/or complaint is particularly complex. If so, the acknowledgment will specify a different timescale.
If we do not receive a response from you to this letter we will try to contact you on one further occasion in order to attempt to address any outstanding issues.
What if I am not satisfied with the reply?
You may request a meeting with our Complaints Handling Manager to discuss the complaint and the letter of reply. However, at the discretion of the Complaints Handling Manager, this meeting may be declined on the basis that a detailed response has been provided to you and that a further discussion is unlikely to resolve the complaint amicably.
What else can I do?
If you do not agree with the outcome of our complaints process, or we fail to investigate it within eight weeks, you can then complain to the Legal Ombudsman. Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within six months of our final response to your complaint. The Legal Ombudsman can investigate complaints for up to six years from the date a problem occurred or within three years from when you when you found out about the problem.
The Legal Ombudsman’s contact details are:
PO Box 6806
Tel. no. 0300 555 0333
Email: [email protected]
Alternatively, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) 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 are free to contact the SRA at any time and there are no time limits on doing so. However, the SRA do not generally deal with complaints about poor service which can be dealt with by the Legal Ombudsman.
The SRA’s contact details are:
Solicitors Regulation Authority
199 Wharfside Street
Tel. no. 0370 606 2555
Email: [email protected]
What if my complaint relates to costs?
Please use the complaints procedure outlined above and discuss your concerns with the fee earner handling your case.
If you are not satisfied with the reply, please write to the Complaints Handling Manager. Again, if you are not satisfied with the action taken to resolve your concerns you can complain to the Legal Ombudsman.
Alternatively, you may be entitled to request the court to assess our costs to determine what is fair and reasonable under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. Generally the application for assessment must be made within one month of receiving the bill.
Alternative Complaints Handling Body
Under EU law, we are required to inform you that alternative complaints handling bodies (such Pro Mediate or Ombudsman Services) exist which are able to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and we wish to use such a scheme. However, given that the decision of a mediator is not binding on you or us we see no benefit in this and it will be unusual for us to agree to a reference to such a body.