We obviously hope that you are happy with our work. If you are not, then of course please raise the problem in the first instance by telephone or correspondence with the partner with overall responsibility for your work or, if you prefer, with our complaints partner, Sandi Simons. All solicitors must attempt to resolve any problems as may arise with their services so it is therefore important that you raise any concerns with us immediately. In order to ensure that complaints are dealt with promptly, fairly and effectively, we have in place a complaints procedure as outlined below. In the unfortunate event that you do wish to make a complaint, you will be informed how the complaint will be handled and given an indication about the timescale for the complaint being dealt with.
We are committed to providing a high-quality legal service to all our clients. If however you wish to make a complaint (which may include a complaint about your bill) then the procedure is as detailed below. Clients are told of our complaints procedure in their Retainer Letter.
- Complaints should be made in the first instance to the partner responsible for the matter in question (“the Matter Partner”). If you are unable to resolve the complaint with the Matter Partner, then he or she should refer it to Sandi Simons, the Partner who has been designated to deal with such issues (or if Sandi Simons is the Matter Partner to Andy Millmore) (“the Designated Partner”).
- The Designated Partner will send a response to you acknowledging the complaint within three business days of her/him receiving it. At the same time, we will record the complaint in our central register.
- The Designated Partner will then start to investigate the complaint. This may involve one or more of the following steps:
- she/he may ask the member of staff who acted and/or the Matter Partner to prepare a report and send it to you; and/or
- she/he may invite you to meet with her/him and/or the member of staff who acted and/or the Matter Partner to discuss and hopefully resolve the complaint; and/or
- she/he may reply in writing to you about the complaint.
- In the event of a meeting taking place, the Designated Partner will within seven business days of the meeting contact you in writing (which will be entitled “Written Response”) to confirm what took place and any further comments she/he may have in relation to the complaint.
- In the event that a meeting does not take place, the Designated Partner will respond to your complaint in writing (which will be entitled “Written Response”), and such response will include our suggestions for resolving the matter.
- On receipt of a Written Response, if you are still not satisfied, you can write to us again. We will then arrange for our Senior Partner, Gerrard Tyrrell, to review the way in which the complaint has been handled. Our Senior Partner will review the way in which the complaint has been handled within 21 days of receipt of the request for him to do so.
- We will let you know the result of the review within five working days of the end of the review. At this time we will write to you confirming our final position on the complaint and explaining our reasons.
- If you are (1) an individual, or (2) a business with less than 10 employees and whose annual turnover and/or balance sheet total does not exceed £2 million, or (3) a charity/club/association/trustee of a trust with an annual net income of less than £1 million and you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint you can ask the Legal Ombudsman (address: PO Box 15870, Birmingham, B30 9EB, Website:www.legalombudsman.org.uk, Telephone: 0300 555 0333) to consider your complaint. Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint and within six years of the act or omission complained of. If you do not fall within one of the three client types listed above and you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint you should seek independent legal advice as to the action you may take as the Legal Ombudsman will not generally have the authority to deal with your complaint.
- If you have a complaint about your bill, you may apply to the Court for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974 and/or you may also complain to the Legal Ombudsman (if you are an individual or small business, see 8 above). The Legal Ombudsman may not deal with a complaint about a bill if an application has been made to Court.