If you are a client of this firm and are dissatisfied with any aspect of the service provided, including our invoice, you are entitled to complain. Our policy is to look at client complaints objectively and take a constructive approach to reaching a satisfactory conclusion. We recognise that complaints may provide us with an opportunity to check the quality of our service and to make improvements to it in a particular case or more generally. Indeed, even if you do not have a complaint, your suggestions as to how our services might be improved will be welcome.
You can make a complaint to the partner who is responsible for the matter concerned or, if this is not appropriate or the complaint is in relation to more general matters, to your client partner. A complaint will be acknowledged within three working days. We will review your file carefully with the person handling the matter and make any wider enquiries within the firm as may be necessary. We will respond to your complaint fully as soon as practicable and within 21 days. Our response will usually be in writing, and we may suggest a meeting. We will inform you of our views about your complaint and how we propose to resolve it.
If you are not satisfied with our response, you may refer your complaint to our Complaints Officer, James Thorne, who will look at the matter afresh and will carry out any further investigations as may be necessary. Usually within 28 days of the complaint being referred to him, he will inform you of his conclusions and any proposals to resolve the complaint. If it remains unresolved, you may refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. The Solicitors Regulation Authority can assist if you are concerned about our behaviour and you can raise concerns at the www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor.page website address
The Legal Ombudsman is an independent and impartial lay body for members of the public who wish to make a complaint about a solicitor who has acted for them. It operates within a regulatory and disciplinary framework set, monitored and enforced by the regulatory body for solicitors, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (“SRA”). The Legal Ombudsman also works closely with the Law Society, the body that represents solicitors in England and Wales.
Before it will consider a complaint, the Legal Ombudsman generally requires that a firm's internal complaints procedure has been exhausted with the client. If the Legal Ombudsman is satisfied that the firm's proposals for resolving a complaint are reasonable, it may decline to investigate further. You should bring your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of our final internal complaints procedure response and within six years of your grounds for dissatisfaction arising or three years from the deemed date of knowledge of those grounds.
The Legal Ombudsman may: (a) investigate the quality of the professional service supplied by a solicitor to a client; (b) express a view on whether the solicitor's charges are found reasonable; or (c) refer allegations that the solicitor has breached rules of professional conduct to the SRA.
The Legal Ombudsman will not: (a) determine complicated issues of fact or law which can only be decided by a Court; or (b) give legal advice or tell a solicitor how to handle a case; or (c) review the outcome of a court case.
The Legal Ombudsman's website can be found at www.legalombudsman.org.uk. They can be contacted by email at [email protected], by post at Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ or by telephone on 0300 555 0333 (between 9:00am and 5:00pm).
Alternative complaints bodies (such as Ombudsman Services, ProMediate and Small Claims Mediation) exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and this firm wish to use such a scheme.
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint in relation to our invoice you may also apply to the Court for an assessment of the invoice under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974 but you will be responsible for the costs of such assessment if the invoice is not reduced.