We are committed to providing high-quality legal services to all our clients. When something goes wrong, we need you to tell us about it. This will help us to improve our standards.
Information to be given to clients at the outset of their case
We will tell all clients at the outset of their case, in a client care letter, that they are entitled to complain about our services to them, including about the firm’s bill, and to whom they should complain. Clients will be provided with information about whom to contact if they cannot easily resolve their complaint with the lawyer who has conduct of their case.
What is a complaint?
We will regard a complaint as being any expression of dissatisfaction in relation to the legal services, client care or the complaints management process provided by the practice, where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected.
How complaints should be made
If you become unhappy or concerned about the service we are providing, then you should let us know. Complaints may be made face to face, in writing by letter, or email or on the telephone. In the first instance, it may be helpful to contact the lawyer who is dealing with you case to discuss your concerns.
However, if you remain unsatisfied and you wish to make a formal complaint, then please contact our Managing Partner, Marie Dancer, with the full details of your complaint. We would expect to receive any complaints within 6 months of the subject matter of the complaint being identified to you and ideally as soon as possible.
How will we respond to a complaint?
- On receipt of a complaint we will send you a letter acknowledging your complaint within three days of receiving it, enclosing a copy of this procedure.
- We will then investigate your complaint. This will normally involve passing your complaint to our Managing Partner, Marie Dancer, who will review your file and speak to the lawyer responsible for your matter. We will seek to identify the cause of your complaint and will seek to offer appropriate redress. We will analyse if as a result of your complaint we need to make any changes to our policies and procedures and if we have any training needs.
- Marie Dancer will then offer you the opportunity of a meeting to discuss and hopefully resolve your complaint. She will do this within 14 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.
- Within three days of a meeting, Marie Dancer will write to you to confirm the outcome of the meeting and any solutions she has agreed with you.
- If you do not want a meeting or if it is not possible to arrange one, Marie Dancer will send you a detailed written reply to your complaint, including her suggestions for resolving the matter, within 21 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.
- If your case and/or complaint are particularly complicated, we may not be able to adhere to the standard timeframe set out in this procedure. In these circumstances we will explain this to you and will aim to agree with you a realistic, fair timeframe for investigating your complaint and for responding to you.
- On receipt of our written response to your complaint, if you remain unsatisfied, you should contact us again and we will arrange for Jonathan Wright or Steve Roberts to review the decision. One of these Partners will then review your complaint. You should request this review within 21 days of receiving the detailed written reply/reply following a meeting. If you require additional time to respond, you should make this request within the 21 day period, detailing your reasons and we will seek to agree a suitable extension of time with you.
- We will write to you within 10 days of receiving your request for a review, providing you with the firm’s final written response about your complaint and explaining our reasons.
- In the event that a complaint relates to either Marie Dancer/Jonathan Wright/Steve Roberts, then their role in the complaint process will be substituted appropriately by another Partner.
What to do if we cannot resolve your complaint.
If having had a review of our decision you remain unsatisfied then you can ask the Legal Ombudsman to consider your complaint. They will look at your complaint independently. Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint. The Legal Ombudsman can be contacted at Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ or at www.legalombudsman.org.uk or by telephone on 0300 555 0333 or by email at email@example.com. If you would like more information from the Legal Ombudsman then please contact them.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help you if you are concerned about our behaviour. This could be for things such as dishonesty, or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic. You can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority. More information can be found at their website at https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor.page
Alternative complaints bodies exist, such as ProMediate, which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme. ProMediate can be contacted via their website at http://www.promediate.co.uk/ ProMediate should be contacted within 12 months of receiving a final letter from this firm regarding a complaint. We will consider using such as scheme on a case by case basis.
Records of complaint
We will maintain a central record of all complaints. This will enable us to conduct an annual review of all complaints received and the outcome to enable us to verify that our complaint procedure is in effective operation across the firm.
Review and Responsibility
Marie Dancer is responsible for this procedure, which will be reviewed annually as part of the annual review of the firm’s procedures.
Last Reviewed: 5th December 2018