Making a complaint
You can register the complaint with the person dealing with your matter, their supervisor or the complaints handling director, Esther Booth. She 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 complainant has evidence to show that we did not have reasonable grounds to do so.
Investigating the complaint
(1) The complaints handling director 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 them of our views on the complaint and how we propose to resolve it, hopefully to the complainant’s satisfaction.
(5) If the complainant in the first instance made their complaint to the person dealing with the matter or their supervisor and is dissatisfied with the outcome, or the way the complaint has been handled, the complainant may reply to the complaints handling director who will make such further investigations as are necessary.
(6) The complaints handling director will inform the complainant of the conclusions and any alternative proposals to resolve the complaint, usually within 28 days of this being referred to her.
(7) If still unresolved at this stage, the complainant may take their complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. They will have to bring their complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:
- within 6 months of receiving a final response from us about their complaint, and 6 years from the date of the act or omission giving rise to the complaint, or;
- alternatively, 3 years from the date they should reasonably have known there are grounds for the complaint (if the act/omission took place before 6 October 2010 or was more than 6 years ago).
(8) If the complaint relates to misconduct then the complainant may also take their complaint to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
(9) We will record and report centrally all complaints received from complainants.
(10) We will identify the cause of any problems of which the complainant has complained offering appropriate redress and correcting any unsatisfactory procedures.
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.
The Legal Ombudsman’s address is:
PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ; telephone, 0300 555 0333; website, www.legalombudsman.org.uk; or email firstname.lastname@example.org