Understanding the complaints procedure for solicitors is essential for clients who wish to address any concerns or dissatisfaction with the legal services provided. This article outlines the key aspects of the complaints handling procedure and the steps involved in making a complaint against a solicitor. By familiarizing yourself with this process, you can ensure that your concerns are addressed in a timely and effective manner, ultimately leading to a satisfactory resolution.
- The designated complaints handler should be the first point of contact for addressing concerns about service, work, or charges.
- Complaining to the Solicitors Regulation Authority is an option if you are concerned about the behavior of a solicitor.
- There are alternative complaints bodies available to handle complaints about legal services, should both the client and the firm wish to use such a scheme.
- The complaints handling procedure should be free of charge, and clients should not incur any costs for making a complaint.
- Clients should be provided with a clear understanding of what will happen next in the complaints handling process.
Complaints Handling Procedure
Our Commitment to Quality Service
We are committed to providing a high-quality legal service. We acknowledge that we may not always get it right, so if something has gone wrong, including in relation to our charges, we need you to tell us. This will help us to improve our standards of service.
- How do I make a complaint?
- You can contact us in writing (by letter, fax or email) or by telephone.
- In the first instance, it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your case to discuss your concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues. If you do not feel able to discuss your concerns with them, please contact the person responsible for the overall
"Cannot fault anything! Thank you so much for everything."
Designated Complaints Handler
If you have any concerns about our service, our work, or our charges, you should discuss these first with the individual who has day-to-day control of your matter. If this person cannot satisfactorily address your concerns and you wish to make a complaint, please contact our Designated Complaints Handler, Lisa Potts. She is a Director of this firm and you can write to her at Burgage House, 1 Millgate, Richmond, North Yorkshire, DL10 4JL or send an Email to [email protected].
- Step One: Acknowledging your Complaint
Within two working days of receiving your complaint, it will be recorded in our Complaints Register and a separate file will be opened in which we will store any correspondence.
- Step Two: Investigating your Complaint
We will then investigate your complaint. This will normally involve assigning a Team Manager to deal with your complaint who will review the service we provided and talk to the member/s of staff who assisted you. The Team Manager may want to discuss the issues directly with you and hopefully resolve your complaint.
- Step Three: Resolving your Complaint
If you do not feel able to discuss your concerns with them, please contact the person responsible for the overall supervision of your matter, who will be named in the client care letter we sent you at the beginning of your matter. If you do not feel able to raise your concerns with either of these people, or you are unsatisfied with their response, please contact our Complaints Partner who has overall responsibility for complaints and whose contact details are:
Clarkson Wright & Jakes Ltd
12 Knoll Rise
Alternative Complaints Bodies
In the event that a resolution is not reached through our internal complaints handling procedure, clients have the option to seek assistance from alternative complaints bodies. These organizations are equipped to handle disputes related to legal services, provided both the client and the firm agree to the terms of the scheme. Notably, entities like ProMediate offer such services.
It is important to understand that our firm has elected not to participate in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) schemes, such as those offered by ProMediate, due to the presence of the Legal Ombudsman service. This decision is based on our confidence in the comprehensive process provided by the Legal Ombudsman.
Tip: Should you consider an alternative complaints body, ensure that you are aware of the time limits for filing a complaint, which typically require action within a year of the incident, or within six months of our final response.
Clients should be cognizant of the fact that while these bodies provide a valuable service, not all firms may agree to their use. In such cases, the Legal Ombudsman remains the primary avenue for complaint resolution.
Complaining to the Solicitors Regulation Authority
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) can assist you if you are concerned about our behavior. This could be for issues such as dishonesty, taking or losing your money, or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability, or other characteristic. You can raise your concerns with the SRA by visiting its website to see how you can report your concerns. If you wish to use an alternative complaints body, such as Pro Mediate UK Limited, you and our firm can choose to use such a scheme. However, we have chosen not to adopt an ADR process. If you wish to complain further, you should contact the Legal Ombudsman.
- The SRA can help if you are concerned about our behavior
- We will not charge you for handling your complaint
- If we have issued a bill for work done, it will not affect the handling of your complaint
If our service to you is found to be below standard, we will discuss ways to improve or, if appropriate, provide recompense. The SRA’s contact information is as follows:
Address: Solicitors Regulation Authority, The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RN
Telephone: 0370 606 2555
Email: [email protected]
What to do if You are Unhappy
If you are unhappy with the service provided by our solicitors, there are specific steps you can take to address your concerns. In the first instance, we recommend contacting the person responsible for your case to discuss your concerns. If you prefer to communicate in writing, you can send a letter or an email to the individual handling your matter. If your concerns are not resolved at this stage, you may escalate the issue by contacting their Supervisor or Practice Group Head. If you are still dissatisfied, you have the option to contact the Legal Ombudsman for further assistance. We are committed to resolving your concerns promptly and effectively, and we encourage you to follow these steps to ensure a satisfactory resolution.
- Contact the person responsible for your case to discuss your concerns
- Send a letter or email if you prefer written communication
- Escalate the issue by contacting the Supervisor or Practice Group Head
- Contact the Legal Ombudsman if your concerns remain unresolved
It is important to address any dissatisfaction with our service promptly, as this allows us to take the necessary steps to resolve the issue and improve our service for all our clients.
What Will it Cost?
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 are concerned about our fees, you can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Here’s a summary of the cost-related information:
|Free of charge
|Explained in Terms of Business
|Legal Ombudsman Service
|Free of charge
Tip: If you have concerns about our fees, visit the Solicitors Regulation Authority website for guidance.
What Will Happen Next?
After receiving the acknowledgement of your complaint, we will promptly begin the investigation process. This will involve reviewing your matter file and speaking to the staff member involved. We may request further information from you to fully understand the nature of your complaint. The investigation will be handled promptly, fairly, and free of charge. Upon concluding our investigation, we will produce a written report that explains the outcome, any offer of compensation, and any further remedies available to you. If we are unable to resolve your query informally, we will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 3 business days of receiving it, enclosing a copy of this complaint handling procedure. We will then investigate your complaint, assigning a Team Manager to review the service provided and speak to the staff who assisted you. The Team Manager may want to discuss the issues directly with you. If necessary, we will provide our final response and inform you of any other remedies available at that stage.
Our Complaints Policy
Our complaints policy is designed to ensure that we provide a high-quality legal service to all our clients. When something goes wrong, we encourage you to tell us about it, as this will help us to improve our standards. If you have a complaint, you can contact us in writing (by letter or email) or by telephone. In the first instance, it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your matter to discuss your concerns. Alternatively, if you do not feel able to discuss your concerns with them, please contact the person responsible for the overall supervision of your matter, as named in the client care letter. If you have been unable to resolve any issues with the person dealing with your matter, a complaint can be made to the Director of Professional Standards by email, letter, or telephone. We are committed to investigating all complaints or expressions of dissatisfaction to assist us in improving the service we provide. If you have any concerns about our service, work, or charges, please discuss these first with the individual who has day-to-day control of your matter. If this person cannot satisfactorily address your concerns and you wish to make a complaint, please contact our Designated Complaints Handler, Lisa Potts, at Burgage House, 1 Millgate, Richmond, North Yorkshire, DL10 4JL, or via email.
In conclusion, understanding the complaints procedure for solicitors is essential for ensuring transparency, accountability, and fair resolution. It is imperative to be aware of the designated complaints handler and the available alternative complaints bodies. The Solicitors Regulation Authority plays a crucial role in addressing concerns about solicitors’ behavior, and it is important to be informed about the process of raising concerns with them. Additionally, being aware of the cost implications and the next steps in the complaints handling procedure is vital. Overall, a clear understanding of the complaints procedure empowers clients to address dissatisfaction and contribute to the improvement of legal services. Transparency and accountability are fundamental in fostering trust and integrity in the legal profession.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long will it take to handle my complaint?
The handling of your complaint and the expected duration will be outlined in our Complaints Handling Procedure. Typically, we aim to acknowledge your complaint within 2 working days and provide a response within a reasonable timeframe.
What should I do if I am not satisfied with the designated complaints handler’s response?
If you are unsatisfied with the response from the designated complaints handler, you can escalate your complaint by contacting the Legal Ombudsman or the Solicitors Regulation Authority for further assistance.
Are there any costs associated with making a complaint?
There are no charges for handling your complaint. However, if there are outstanding bill payments, interest may be charged as per our Terms of Business. The Legal Ombudsman service is free of charge.
What alternative options do I have for resolving my complaint?
You have the option to use alternative complaints bodies, such as Pro Mediate UK Limited, for resolving your complaint about legal services. Additionally, you can contact the Legal Ombudsman or the Solicitors Regulation Authority for further assistance.
What can I do if I am unhappy with the behavior of the solicitors?
If you are concerned about the behavior of the solicitors, including issues like dishonesty, mishandling of funds, or unfair treatment, you can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority or the Legal Ombudsman. They can provide assistance and guidance on addressing such concerns.
Is there a specific complaints policy in place?
Yes, we have a specific complaints policy in place to ensure that client complaints are handled efficiently and fairly. You can contact us in writing or by telephone to initiate the complaints procedure, and we are committed to resolving any issues in a timely manner.