Satisfaction

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 (sandi.simons@harbottle.com). 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 will not charge you in relation to dealing with your complaint.

Complaints procedure

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.

  1. Complaints should be made in the first instance to either the partner responsible for the matter in question (“the Matter Partner”) or, if you prefer, to Sandi Simons (sandi.simons@harbottle.com), the Partner who has been designated to deal with such issues (“the Designated Partner”). If you are unable to resolve the complaint with the Matter Partner, then he or she should refer it to Sandi Simons, (or if Sandi Simons is the Matter Partner, to Louis Castellani).
  2. The Designated Partner will send a response to you acknowledging the complaint within two business days of her/him receiving it. At the same time, we will record the complaint in our central register.
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. If we are unable to resolve your complaint we will also provide you with the name and web address of an ADR approved body which would be competent to deal with the complaint should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme and will state whether we intend to use it.
  6. If you received the benefit of our service AND are:

    (1) an individual, or:

    (2) a personal representative/beneficiary of an estate of a person who, before he/she died, had not referred the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, or;

    (3) a business that was a micro-enterprise (i.e. broadly, which employs fewer than 10 people and whose annual turnover and/or annual balance sheet total does not exceed €2 million) when it referred the complaint to us, or;

    (4) a charity that had an annual income net of tax of less than £1 million when it referred the complaint to us, or;

    (5) a club/association/organisation, the affairs of which are managed by its members/a committee/a committee of its members, which had an annual net income of less than £1 million when it referred the complaint to us, or;

    (6) a trustee of a trust that had an asset value of less than £1 million when it referred the complaint to us, and the services to which the complaint relates were provided, by us, to a person who has subsequently died and, had not by his or her death, referred the complaint to the ombudsman scheme;

AND if, in normal circumstances, after eight weeks a resolution has not been achieved under our internal complaints procedure, you can ask the Legal Ombudsman (Address: PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ, Website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk, Telephone: 0300 555 0333, Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk) to consider your complaint. In exceptional circumstances (or where the relationship between you and us has broken down to such an extent that we are unlikely to come to a resolution), the Legal Ombudsman has the discretion to accept a complaint sooner than eight weeks or without it having first been raised with us.

  1. 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 either within six years of the act or omission complained of or three years from when you should have reasonably known it had occurred and the act or omission, or when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint, must have been after 5 October 2010. If you do not fall within one of the categories listed at the beginning of this section 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 without it having first been raised with us.
  2. 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 be able to complain to the Legal Ombudsman (see 6 above). The Legal Ombudsman may not deal with a complaint about a bill if an application has been made to Court.
  3. Alternatively, if you have concerns about our behaviour, you may refer the matter directly to the SRA here: https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor/. The postal address is Solicitors Regulation Authority The Cube 199 Wharfside Street Birmingham B1 1RN. You may also telephone them on 0370 606 2555 or email them at report@sra.org.uk