The complaints procedure for solicitors is an important aspect of ensuring that clients receive the best level of service. If at any point a client becomes unhappy with the service provided, it is crucial to inform the solicitor immediately. This article will provide an overview of the complaints procedure, including how to inform the solicitor of a complaint, the steps involved in resolving the complaint, the role of the Legal Ombudsman, and the internal procedure for handling complaints. It will also cover the importance of reviewing complaint records, concerns about behavior, the role of the Solicitors Regulation Authority, alternative dispute resolution options, and the cost of handling complaints. Finally, it will address what to do in the case of unresolved complaints and provide an overview of the complaints handling procedure.
- Inform the solicitor immediately if you are unhappy with the service provided.
- If the solicitor is unable to resolve your complaint, you can contact the Legal Ombudsman.
- The Legal Ombudsman investigates complaints about service issues with solicitors’ firms.
- The Solicitors Regulation Authority provides a complaints system for unresolved concerns.
- Alternative dispute resolution options may be available for handling complaints.
Informing Us of Your Complaint
If you have any complaints or expressions of dissatisfaction, we encourage you to inform us as soon as possible. Your feedback is important to us as it helps us improve the quality of our service. To submit a complaint, you can contact the Director of Professional Standards by email, letter, or telephone. Please refer to our Engagement Letter for the contact details. We appreciate your cooperation in providing any necessary information or documents related to your complaint.
Resolving Your Complaint
Once we have received your complaint, we will acknowledge it within two working days and provide you with a copy of our complaints policy. Our investigation will involve reviewing your complaint, examining relevant documents, and consulting with the person who handled your matter. If necessary, we may ask you for additional information to fully understand your complaint.
If we believe a meeting would be beneficial, we will invite you to discuss and hopefully resolve your complaint. Alternatively, we will provide our suggestions for resolving the matter in writing. If we are unable to resolve your complaint within 8 weeks, you may have the option to escalate it to the Legal Ombudsman.
The Legal Ombudsman is an independent body that provides a free service to resolve complaints about legal services providers. They can investigate your complaint and make recommendations to the firm. It is important to note that the Legal Ombudsman expects complaints to be made within one year of the act or omission that you are concerned about, or within one year of realizing there was a concern. You must also refer your concerns to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of our final response to you.
If you are unhappy with the solicitor or firm that has acted for you, the Legal Ombudsman can be contacted at:
- PO Box 6167, Slough, SL1 0EH
- Telephone number: 0300 555 0333
- E-mail: [email protected]
- Website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk
Internal Procedure on Handling Complaints
Once we receive your complaint, we will assign a Team Manager to investigate the issue. The Team Manager will review the service provided and speak to the staff members involved. They may also want to discuss the issues directly with you in order to resolve the complaint. Our aim is to handle your complaint promptly and fairly, ensuring that you receive a high-quality service. If the complaint is complicated, it may take longer to investigate, and we will inform you of the revised time estimate.
Reviewing Complaint Records
When reviewing your complaint, we will typically:
- Review your complaint
- Review your file(s) and other relevant documents
- Liaise with the person who dealt with your matter
In some cases, we may need to ask you for further information or documents. If this is necessary, we will provide you with a specific timeframe to provide the requested information.
Throughout the investigation process, we will keep you updated on the progress of your complaint. At the conclusion of our investigation, we will inform you of the actions we have taken and our proposed resolution. We aim to provide this information within 28 days of acknowledging your complaint.
Concerns about Behavior
If you have any concerns about the behavior of a solicitor, you can seek assistance from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). The SRA is responsible for regulating solicitors and can provide guidance on professional conduct and ethics. They have the authority to investigate complaints and take appropriate action if necessary. You can contact the SRA at their website www.sra.org.uk/consumers.
Solicitors Regulation Authority
In the event that we are unable to resolve your concerns, you have the option to make a complaint to our governing and regulatory body, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). The SRA provides a complaints system for breaches of the SRA principles and Code of Conduct for Solicitors and Firms. Complaints can be made at any point during the transaction. More information on how to make a report can be found on the SRA website.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
In addition to the options mentioned above, there is also the possibility of utilizing alternative dispute resolution (ADR). ADR is a process that aims to resolve disputes outside of the traditional court system. It can be a more cost-effective and efficient way to address complaints. There are various ADR providers available in the UK, such as ProMediate, that specialize in resolving legal disputes. However, it is important to note that our firm has chosen not to adopt an ADR process. Therefore, if you wish to pursue your complaint further, you should contact the Legal Ombudsman.
Cost of Handling Complaint
We will not charge you for handling your complaint. Please note that if we have issued a bill for work done on the matter, and all or some of the bill is not paid, we may be entitled to charge interest on the amount outstanding. This is explained in our Terms of Business. The Legal Ombudsman service is free of charge.
If you remain dissatisfied, please contact the supervisor of the person handling your matter, details of which can be found in your client care letter. If you are not happy with the response, please contact our Office Management at 60 Cannon Street, London EC4N 6NP or call 0203 959 9123 and we will do our utmost to resolve your concern. At this stage, we will provide a substantive response to you as soon as we have had the opportunity to review the nature of the complaint and in any case within 8 weeks. If you are not satisfied with the final response and we have been unable to settle your complaint, you will need to bring a complaint to our governing and regulatory body, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), who provide a complaints system in the event that we are unable to resolve your concerns, which includes Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). The SRA will deal with complaints in relation to a breach of the SRA principles and Code of Conduct for Solicitors and Firms and complaints can be made at any point during the transaction. More information can be found here on how to make a report. Please note that alternative complaints bodies exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme. We currently do not use any alternative complaints bodies to resolve complaints. Unresolved complaints about our services will, therefore, be dealt with by the Legal Ombudsman. Our complaints policy is to provide a high-quality legal service to all our clients. When something goes wrong we need you to tell us about it. This will help us to improve our standards. If you have a complaint, you can contact us in writing, by email, or by telephone. We will acknowledge your complaint within 5 working days and aim to provide a full response within 8 weeks. If we are unable to resolve your complaint within 8 weeks, we will write to you explaining why and provide you with an update on the progress of your complaint. By the end of 8 weeks after we have received your complaint, we will either send you our final response after completing our investigation or send you a response which explains why we are still not in a position to provide our final response and informing you of your other remedies at that stage. On concluding our investigation, we will produce a written report which will explain the outcome of our investigation and the nature and terms of any offer of compensation.
Complaints Handling Procedure
Our firm is committed to providing a high-quality legal service to all our clients. When something goes wrong, we encourage you to inform us about it through our complaints procedure. You can contact us in writing (by letter or email) or by telephone. In the first instance, it may be helpful to discuss your concerns with the person working on your matter. We will do our best to resolve any issues at that stage. If you do not feel comfortable discussing your concerns with them, please contact the person responsible for handling complaints.
Once we receive your complaint, we will acknowledge receipt within 3 business days and provide you with a copy of our complaint handling procedure. We will assign a Team Manager to review the service provided and talk to the staff members involved. The Team Manager may want to discuss the issues directly with you in order to resolve your complaint. We will then conduct a thorough investigation into your complaint.
If we are unable to resolve your complaint, you have the option to have it independently looked at by the Legal Ombudsman. The Legal Ombudsman investigates complaints about service issues with solicitors’ firms. They expect complaints to be made within one year of the date of the act or omission that you are concerned about.
We are committed to handling your complaint promptly, fairly, and free of charge. Our Complaints Director will review your matter file and speak to the staff member who acted for you. They will provide you with their findings within 28 days of receiving your complaint. If the complaint is complicated, additional time may be needed, and we will inform you of the revised time estimate. We may also invite you to a meeting to discuss your complaint further, if necessary.
In conclusion, understanding the complaints procedure for solicitors is essential for clients who may encounter issues with the service provided. It is important to inform the solicitor immediately if any problems arise, as they will strive to resolve the complaint. If the complaint cannot be resolved, clients have the option to seek assistance from the Legal Ombudsman or the Solicitors Regulation Authority. It is crucial to be aware of the time limits for making a complaint and to familiarize oneself with the internal procedures and alternative dispute resolution options available. By following the appropriate steps, clients can ensure that their concerns are addressed and that they receive the highest level of service.
Understanding the Complaints Procedure for Solicitors
How do I inform the solicitors of my complaint?
You can contact the solicitors in writing (by letter or email) or by telephone to inform them of your complaint.
What happens if the solicitors are unable to resolve my complaint?
If the solicitors are unable to resolve your complaint, you can have the complaint independently looked at by the Legal Ombudsman.
What is the Legal Ombudsman?
The Legal Ombudsman investigates complaints about service issues with solicitors’ firms.
Is there an internal procedure for handling complaints?
Yes, the solicitors have an internal procedure for handling complaints. You can ask your lawyer or a director for details.
Can I review the complaints records?
Yes, you can request to review the complaints records at any time.
What should I do if I have concerns about the solicitors’ behavior?
If you have concerns about the solicitors’ behavior, you can contact the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) or the Legal Ombudsman.