CLIENT COMPLAINT PROCEDURE
In the first instance all concerns and complaints will be dealt with at a department level. You should speak to the person dealing with your matter and ask them to refer you to their supervising partner (who will have been named to you in our first letter of instruction). Or if you prefer you can contact the supervisor direct or our complaints member (“CM”), Simon Sharpe, who will refer you.
Only if that does not resolve the issues to your satisfaction will you be referred to our complaints member (“CM”), Simon Sharpe, who is based in our Coventry office at 17a Queens Road Coventry CV1 3DH. To be dealt with under this procedure.
Our aim is to deal with any complaint fairly, without prejudice or discrimination and in a reasonable and proportionate manner. Our objective is to deal with a complaint within 6 weeks of receipt by our CM.
How it will work.
We aim to follow this timetable:-
1) We will write or e-mail you within 3 working days from the date your complaint is referred to our CM. We will summarise our understanding of your complaint and ask you to confirm within a further 3 working days that this is correct. (you can say whether you would prefer letter or e-mail)
2) If we need further information before we can deal with your complaint we will ask you to provide this within 7 days. How quickly we can progress from this point may depend on how quickly you respond.
3) If we think that a meeting would help in dealing with your complaint then we will invite you to attend at a mutually convenient time within the next 14 days. You can tell us if you want to meet to discuss the issues.
4) Alternatively, if we think that your complaint can be dealt with over the phone or by letter/e-mail then we will try and do this within 14 days.
5) If we need further time to investigate after we have met or spoken then we will tell you within 2 working days. We would aim to complete those further investigations within 7 days.
6) We will write/e-mail within 2 working days of the completion of our investigations. This will include:-
a) Telling you the conclusion that we have reached
b) Offering you an apology if one is appropriate
c) Giving an explanation as to the reasons for our conclusion and of what, if anything, went wrong
d) Offering redress if that is appropriate
7) We will invite you to respond to any offer of redress and with any comments within 14 days.
8) If you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint, you can take up any issue with the Legal Ombudsman. You can complain to the Ombudsman within 6 months of the conclusion of our complaints process. More information can be obtained from the website www.legalombudsman.org.uk. Or you can contact them on 0300 555 0333 or write to them at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ.
9) In order to deal with a complaint the Legal Ombudsman must be satisfied that
a) the act or omission, or when the complainant should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint, must have been after 5th October 2010; and
b) the complainant must refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman no later than:
– six years from the act/omission; or
– three years from when the complainant should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
10) If your complaint is in respect of your bill then you have a right to object to the bill by applying to the Court for an assessment under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.
11) Whilst this complaint procedure is intended to be used in respect of complaints by clients of the firm there is a limited class of people who are entitled to complain to the Legal Services Ombudsman about the service we have provided even though they are not a client. In these circumstances we would intend to deal with such complaint fairly and in line with the procedure for client complaints. The complainant must be advised at the outset however that information we hold is likely to be confidential to our client and that we cannot answer questions or provide information without the consent of our client. This may mean that we are not able to respond to their complaint.
Solicitors Regulation Authority
You may also complain to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) if you think we have breached an SRA Principle or are guilty of dishonesty or discrimination.
The SRA’s contact details are as follows:
Postal address – The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RN
Telephone – 0370 606 2555
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org