Client Concerns Procedure
We are committed to providing a high-quality legal service to our clients. When something goes wrong, we need you to tell us about it. This will help us to sort out any mistakes or misunderstandings, and to improve our standards.
In most cases, an informal chat with the lawyer responsible for your matter will resolve your concerns.
If it does not, you can formalise your complaint or speak to someone other than the lawyer responsible for your matter. Our Complaints Manager Daniel Lumb can record everything you are unhappy about and recommend the best solution for you. You can contact Daniel Lumb at email@example.com.
What we need to know
To deal with your complaint correctly, it would be helpful when contacting us if you could provide the following information:
- Your name, contact details and preferred contact method
- File reference number
- Details of your concerns
- How you would like us to put things right.
What will happen next?
- If you telephone us, we will endeavour to resolve the issue in that call.
- If you email or write to us, or if your complaint cannot be resolved in a phone call, we will acknowledge receipt of your complaint in writing within two days of receiving it.
- Our Complaints Manager/ A member of our Client Care Team will conduct an initial investigation into the issues raised. This will normally involve reviewing your file and speaking to the staff member who acted for you. We will send you a detailed reply which sets out our findings and any action plans or proposed resolutions within 5 weeks of sending you the acknowledgement letter.
- If this initial investigation does not resolve your concerns, you can escalate your complaint to a senior member of the firm, who has not had any dealings with your matter thus far, to review the initial decision. We will need a few details from you to highlight the areas that need further review. We will then write to you within 2 weeks of receiving your request for a second review, confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasoning.
- If we have to change any of these timescales, we will let you know, explain why and seek your agreement before proceeding.
What to do if we cannot resolve your complaint
If you have exhausted our internal escalation process yet remain dissatisfied, or a period of eight weeks has expired since we acknowledged your complaint without our final response being received, you are entitled to refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. The Legal Ombudsman will look at the complaint independently and any investigation by them will not affect how we handle your case. Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve the complaint with us in the first instance. We will always be happy to discuss your issues further, prior to you going down this route, if you wish to do so.
The Legal Ombudsman (an independent complaints body which investigates complaints from consumers about their legal service providers in England and Wales) is introducing updated Scheme Rules, effective from 1st April 2023.
A key change relates to the timescale to refer complaints to the Legal Ombudsman – this is reducing to within 1 year from the date of the act or omission about which you are concerned or within 1 year from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
The requirement to refer complaints to the Legal Ombudsman within 6 months of receiving a final response from the firm about a complaint will remain the same under the new Rules.
For complaints about our service, including billing issues, you may contact the Legal Ombudsman via one of the methods below:
- Phone: 0300 5550333
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Post: Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV19 9WJ
The Legal Ombudsman expects complaints to be made to them within one year of the date of the act or omission about which you are concerned or within one year of you realising there was a concern. You must also refer your concerns to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of our final response to you.
Note that the Legal Ombudsman service cannot be used by businesses or most other organisations unless they are below certain size limits. Further details are available from the Legal Ombudsman.
What to do if you are unhappy with our behaviour
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (‘SRA’) can help 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.
Visit their website to see how you can raise your concerns with the SRA at: https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor/
What to do if your complaint relates to an insurance policy
If your unresolved complaint relates to an insurance policy covering your case, you may contact the Financial Ombudsman Service:
- Phone: 0800 023 4567
- Online complaint forms available via their website: https://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/
- Post: Financial Ombudsman Service, Exchange Tower. Harbour Exchange. London. E14 9SR.
What to do if your complaint remains unresolved
If a complaint cannot be resolved, you may also be able to ask for it to be referred to a process of alternative dispute resolution using a certified provider. We are not required to agree to such a request. In any case this is not available to businesses, only consumers. We will give you more information about that right if it becomes relevant.