Handling complaints against solicitors is a crucial aspect of maintaining trust and accountability within the legal profession. This guide provides an overview of the complaints handling procedure, including the process for filing a complaint, reporting misconduct, and the consideration by the Legal Ombudsman. By understanding these key steps, individuals can navigate the complaints process effectively and seek resolution for any issues they may encounter with solicitors.

Key Takeaways

Complaints Handling Procedure

Process for Filing a Complaint

When you encounter an issue with a solicitor that necessitates a formal complaint, the initial step is to contact the individual handling your case directly. It is imperative to articulate your complaint in writing, either via email or letter, ensuring to label the correspondence with the word "Complaint" in the subject line.

The following steps outline the procedure:

  1. Clearly state the nature of your dissatisfaction and the resolution you seek.
  2. Await the acknowledgment of your complaint, which should occur within five working days.
  3. Expect a comprehensive investigation and a response within a maximum of 14 days, though it may be sooner based on the urgency of the matter.

If the issue is particularly time-sensitive, it is crucial to highlight this fact to expedite the process.

Should further information be required to assess your complaint, the response time may extend beyond the initial 14-day period. It is essential for the solicitor to have a complete understanding of the complaint to provide an appropriate resolution.

Reporting Misconduct

Upon encountering any form of misconduct by a solicitor, such as taking or losing your money, dishonesty, or discrimination, it is crucial to report these issues to the appropriate regulatory body. In the case of solicitors in England and Wales, this authority is the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). The SRA enforces the Code of Conduct and takes complaints about professional behavior seriously.

To report misconduct, you should provide detailed information about your concerns, including specific instances of the behavior in question. The contact details for the SRA are as follows:

It is advisable to document all interactions and retain any evidence related to the misconduct to support your claim. This can include correspondence, financial statements, or any other relevant documentation.

The SRA will review the information provided and may conduct an investigation into the matter. If the complaint is substantiated, they have the authority to take disciplinary action against the solicitor or firm in question.

Legal Ombudsman Consideration

Once a complaint against a solicitor reaches the Legal Ombudsman, an independent review process begins. The Ombudsman’s role is to investigate service-related issues impartially. Complainants should ensure that their grievances are lodged within specific time frames to be eligible for consideration.

Eligibility for the Ombudsman’s review requires that complaints be made within one year of the act or omission, or within one year of the complainant realizing there was a concern. Additionally, the complaint must be referred to the Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final response from the solicitor or firm involved.

The Legal Ombudsman provides a free service and aims to resolve complaints fairly and efficiently. It is crucial that you have attempted to settle the matter with the solicitor or firm before involving the Ombudsman.

For ease of reference, here are the contact details for the Legal Ombudsman:

Should the Ombudsman’s service be required, it is available to the public, very small businesses, charities, clubs, and trusts. If there is any uncertainty regarding eligibility, it is advisable to contact the Ombudsman directly.


In conclusion, handling complaints against solicitors is a crucial aspect of maintaining trust and accountability in the legal profession. By following the outlined procedures and seeking resolution through proper channels, both clients and solicitors can ensure a fair and satisfactory outcome. It is important to address any concerns promptly and transparently, with the ultimate goal of improving standards and fostering a positive client-solicitor relationship. Remember, your feedback matters, and we are committed to resolving complaints efficiently and effectively. If you have any further questions or need assistance, do not hesitate to reach out to us. Thank you for entrusting us with your legal matters.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I file a complaint against a solicitor?

You can file a complaint against a solicitor by following the complaints handling procedure outlined above. It is recommended to put your complaint in writing either by email or letter and clearly mark it as a complaint.

What should I do if I have concerns about misconduct or breach of conduct by a solicitor?

If you have concerns about misconduct or breach of conduct by a solicitor, you can report the matter to the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Their contact details can be found on their website.

How long do I have to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman?

Normally, you have to bring your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from the solicitor about your complaint.

Can I discuss my complaint with the solicitor before making a formal complaint?

Yes, you can discuss your complaint with the solicitor before making a formal complaint. They will strive to provide a speedy and positive outcome for your concerns.

What if I am not satisfied with the solicitor’s handling of my complaint?

If you are not satisfied with the solicitor’s handling of your complaint, you can escalate it to the Legal Ombudsman for further consideration.

How will my complaint be handled by the solicitor?

Your complaint will be thoroughly investigated promptly by the solicitor. They have up to eight weeks to consider your complaint, but will aim to resolve it as quickly as possible.

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