Complaints Handling Policy and Procedure
Our Complaints policy
We are committed to providing a high-quality legal service to all our clients. When something goes wrong, we need you to tell us about it. This will help us to improve our standards.
Our Complaints Procedure
If you have any concerns about our service, our work, or our charges, we ask you to discuss these first with the individual who has day-to-day control of your matter.
If this person cannot satisfactorily address your concerns and you wish to make a complaint, we will send to you our Complaints Handling Policy and Procedure.
Complaints should be made in writing to our Designated Complaints Handler, Adam Tierney, who is a Director. You can write to him at 137 Bawtry Road, Wickersley Rotherham S66 2BW or send an Email to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If he is unavailable, then we will ensure that your complaint is brought to the attention of another senior member of staff in the company as soon as practicable.
Step One: Acknowledging your Complaint
Within two weeks (10 working days) of receiving your complaint, your complaint will be recorded in our Complaints Register and we will open a working file. Within that same period, we will also send you a letter acknowledging your complaint.
If you have not been provided with it, we will send to you our Complaints Handling Policy and Procedure.
If your complaint relates to our refusing to act for you, we may in our discretion decide to follow this complaints procedure, even though we may not be required to do so. However, if we do follow this complaints procedure, it is on the basis that it is not intended to negate, or cast any doubt on any evidence or other legitimate reasons or arguments we may rely on for having refused to act and is without prejudice to them.
Step Two: Investigating your Complaint
Within eight weeks (40 working days) of receiving your complaint, we will review your file(s) and any other relevant documentation and send you a letter telling you how we propose to deal with your complaint. Examples of what we might say in this letter are as follows:
- If your complaint is straightforward, we might make suggestions as to how we can put things right or we may offer you some form of redress;
- If your complaint is more complicated, we might ask you to confirm, explain or clarify any issues;
- We may ask to meet with you to discuss things, either on the telephone or face-to-face and we would hope to be in a position to meet with you no longer than 40 working days after first receiving your complaint. If you would prefer not to meet, or if we cannot arrange this within an agreeable timescale or believe a meeting to be unnecessary, we will write to you fully setting out our views on the situation and making suggestions as to how we can put things right. Within 5 working days of any meeting, we will write to you again to confirm what took place and to confirm any offer of redress that we have made.
- Your complaint may be rejected.
Whichever form our investigation takes, we will aim to give you our final decision within eight weeks (56 days) of receiving your complaint.
Step Three: The Legal Ombudsman
Who can make a complaint to LeO?
If your complaint has not been capable of resolution with us directly, members of the public who have a problem with their legal service provider can complain to LeO. The Legal Ombudsman prefers that you approach them directly, but you can ask a friend, relative or anyone else to get in touch for you. If you use another service provider to complain to LeO, the service provider may charge you a fee. If you want another person to act on your behalf, you will need to advise LeO that the person has your permission to speak to the Legal Ombudsman directly.
You can also complain if you are, or represent, any of the following:
(a) A business or enterprise that was a micro-enterprise when you made a complaint to the service provider;
(b) a charity with an annual income net of tax of less than £1 million when you made a complaint to the service provider;
(c) a club, association or organisation, the affairs of which are managed by its members or a committee or committees of its members, that had an annual income net of tax of less than £1 million when you made a complaint to the service provider;
(d) a trustee of a trust that had an asset value of less than £1 million when you made a complaint to the service provider;
(e) a personal representative or a beneficiary of an estate of a person who, before he/she died, had not made the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.
For (e) above the condition is that the services to which the complaint relates were provided by the service provider to a person who has subsequently died; AND had not, by his or her death, already referred the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.
The Legal Ombudsman cannot help if you have a disagreement with another beneficiary or executor.
Timescale for complaining to LeO:
Ordinarily, you can ask LeO to look at your complaint if it meets ALL three of the steps below:
- The problem or when you found out about it, must have arisen after 5 October 2010;
- You are referring your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within either of the following: Six years of the problem happening or three years from when you found out about it or should reasonably have known about it, and;
- You are referring your complaint to LeO within six months of our final response to the complaint.
If your complaint does not meet all of these time limits LeO may not be able to investigate it.
Contact details for the Legal Ombudsman:
Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
Telephone: 0300 555 0333 (from 8.30am to 5.30pm)
By minicom on: 0300 555 1777
From overseas: +44 121 245 3050
Alternative dispute resolution:
Alternative complaints bodies, such as ProMediate UK Ltd (www.promediate.co.uk) exist and are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and this firm wish to use such a scheme. We do not usually agree to use such schemes as those operated by ProMediate UK Ltd as we believe the Legal Ombudsman is better equipped to resolve complaints against legal firms.
Please also note that If we entered into a contract for the provision of services with you online you may also be entitled to use the EU Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Platform at: http://ec.europa.eu/odr to assist in resolving matters. The Platform will direct you to various Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) specialists who are competent to deal with complaints about legal service [e.g. www.small-claims-mediation.co.uk] however we should point out that this firm does not ordinarily use such schemes and relies upon the services of the Legal Ombudsman to resolve such matters.
Complaints about our professional conduct or behaviour:
Our regulatory body, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) can help you if you are concerned about our behaviour. This could be for concerns that you may have including dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic.
We are bound by various professional rules of conduct which can be viewed at www.sra.org.uk. You can also see more information about the help the SRA can give to you here: https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/reportsolicitor.page
Contact Details for Solicitors Regulation Authority:
Address: The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RN
Telephone: 0370 606 2555