A complaint can be made verbally or in writing (either by letter, e-mail or text message).The investigation of a complaint does not involve any charge to the client. If the complaint has been made verbally, the client will be contacted by phone so that we can ascertain with certainty the nature of the complaint and as a consequence will record the complaint in writing.
Initially any complaint will be referred to the fee earner having conduct of the clients matter. The fee earner will contact the client by phone within 48 hours of the complaint being received to ascertain whether the complaint is capable of being resolved informally. If a complaint is not resolved by the fee earner having spoken to the client, the complaint will be referred to the firms Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLP). The COLP will acknowledge receipt in writing of the complaint within 14 days of the complaint being received. This acknowledgement will summarise the nature of the clients’ complaint.
The COLP will then request the clients file from the fee earner who has the conduct of the clients matter. The file will then be scrutinised and in all cases the fee earner will be spoken to either personally or over the telephone and given the opportunity to respond to the clients’ complaint. The COLP will also discuss the complaint with the client either personally or by telephone. The investigation process by its very nature is time consuming. It will be completed as soon as possible but in any event within 6 weeks of the initial receipt of complaint.
Within 8 weeks of the initial receipt of the complaint, the client will receive a written report on the investigation conducted into their complaint and the firms’ proposals to resolve it.
The following remedies are open to the client:
- An apology from the firm together with an assurance that the matter of complaint will not be repeated;
- A reduction in the bill;
- A abatement of the bill;
- Payment of compensation for distress caused;
- Notification to the client of their right to refer their complaint to the Solicitors Regulation Authority either as to our professional conduct or as to our inadequate professional services;
- Notification to the client of their right to consult an independent solicitor and seek advice as to whether we have been negligent;
It is hoped that after the report into the compliant has been considered the client will be satisfied with the outcome and the firm will continue to represent the client, if necessary changing the fee earner responsible for the clients matter.
If the client remains dissatisfied after the report has been considered the client has a right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman within a year from the act or omission complained of. The Legal Ombudsman contact details are:
PO Box 15870
t-0300 555 0333