Complaints Procedure

Introduction 

We aim to provide a high standard of professional service, but if at any time you feel that this is not being maintained we want to know so that we can do our best to resolve the problem. 

By this complaints procedure we aim to: 

  • provide clear and easy to use information for those wishing to make a complaint 
  • provide a prompt response and our assurance that the matter is being reviewed 
  • make sure all complaints are investigated fairly and in a timely way 
  • make sure that complaints are, wherever possible, resolved by mutual agreement 
  • gather information that helps us to improve our service 

What to do if you have a complaint 

Local resolution 

If appropriate and if you agree, please discuss your concerns with the lawyer who has day to day conduct of your matter, or alternatively their named supervisor. 

The team will investigate your concerns by seeking information from the documents on the file and from anyone else who may be involved, and will contact you with a proposal for resolution. 

Risk and compliance resolution 

If the proposal is not acceptable to you, or if you would prefer not to discuss your concerns with the lawyer conducting your matter, you may request that the risk and compliance team takes over.   The risk and compliance team will in any event be notified of the complaint in order that it may be recorded in our central register.  The risk and compliance team works with the complaints partner who oversees the handling of complaints. 

You may contact the risk and compliance team through our main switchboard on 01288 359000.  A member of the risk and compliance team will then contact you to acknowledge your complaint, letting you know the name of the person who will be dealing with your complaint, and may at that stage ask you to provide further details. 

The risk and compliance team will record your complaint in our central register, and will investigate your complaint and send you a detailed reply, including our suggestions for resolving the matter. 

In the course of the investigation if it would be helpful we may invite you to discuss the matter with a member of the risk and compliance team or the complaints partner with a view to finding our more and seeking your views on a successful resolution.  Following this discussion we will write to you confirming what was discussed and our offer of resolution.  If you do not wish to or are unable to discuss the matter with us directly, we will send you a detailed reply to your complaint as above. 

When can you expect to hear from us? 

The risk and compliance team aims to acknowledge your complaint and confirm who will be dealing with it within two working days of its receipt.  Thereafter our aim is to do everything we can to resolve the matter by mutual agreement within the shortest time possible, though the time involved will depend on the complexity of your matter and complaint.  In any event we aim to provide our final response to your complaint within eight weeks of receiving it. 

Referral to the Legal Ombudsman 

If you are not satisfied with our proposed resolution we will be happy to hold further discussions with you during the course of handling the complaint.  If we are unable to come to a mutual resolution or you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint you may contact the Legal Ombudsman, which is an independent and impartial arbiter that deals with complaints about our work and services. 

The Legal Ombudsman’s details are 

e:  enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk 

You should contact the Legal Ombudsman no later than: 

  • six months after receiving our final response to your complaint and 
  • six years from the date of the act/omission complained of or, where later, no more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was a cause for complaint 

Before accepting a complaint for investigation the Legal Ombudsman will usually check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first, and that the complaint falls within their jurisdiction as set out in their scheme rules. 

If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman please contact them or visit their website www.legalombudsman.org.uk 

Misconduct allegations 

If your concern is about professional misconduct such as dishonesty or discrimination please feel free to contact the risk and compliance team using the above contact details.  We take all such allegations seriously and would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with you.  If you are unable to resolve misconduct concerns, you are entitled to refer the matter to the Solicitors Regulation Authority. 

Visit the SRA’s website at www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor.page for details of how to submit a report. 

Who can make a complaint under this procedure? 

If you are a previous, current of prospective client of this firm, or a beneficiary of a trust or estate that we represent, you may submit a complaint under this process.  You may submit your complaint personally or via a representative if you prefer. 

Any person may raise an allegation of misconduct under this process.