We are committed to providing a quality legal service to all of our clients. Consequently, it is essential that, when something goes wrong or any client believes they have reason to complain, we have effective procedures to assist, address, and bring about an early resolution of the problem. Only by doing so can we hope to maintain the quality standards we have set and improve upon them, by learning from what might have gone wrong and from what our clients tell us.
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.
What will happen next?
Step 1 – Acknowledging your Complaint
On receipt of your Complaint it will be recorded in our Complaints Register and a separate file will be opened in which we will store any correspondence and other documents relating to your Complaint. This is for monitoring and management information purposes.
We will send you a letter or email acknowledging your Complaint within 2 days of receipt.
Step 2 – Investigating your Complaint
We will review your file and any other relevant documentation. We will send you a letter or email within 5 days of receipt advising how we propose to deal with your Complaint.
This may involve one or more of the following and will be done within 14 days of receipt of the Complaint:
- If your Complaint is straightforward we might make suggestions as to how we can put things right or offer some form of redress.
- If your Complaint is more complicated we might ask you to confirm, explain or clarify any particular issue.
- We may ask to meet with you to discuss things face to face. If you prefer not to meet or if we are not able to arrange this within the agreeable timescales we will write to you fully setting out our views on the situation and making suggestions as to how we can put things right, or ask you to confirm, explain or clarify any issues.
- If we do discuss matters face to face we will write to you to confirm what took place and to confirm any offer of redress that we have made and return to you within 3 working days of the meeting.
Whichever form the investigation takes, we will aim to give you our final decision within 6 weeks of receiving your Complaint (or sooner if possible).
Step 3 – Appealing the Final Decision
If you are not satisfied with our final decision, please let us know and we will review our decision again. We will do this within 5 working days of receiving your appeal.
This may happen in one of the following ways:
- Our own review of our handling of your Complaint and why you are dissatisfied with our decision within 5 days of the appeal.
- By arranging for someone else in the firm who is entirely unconnected with the Complaint to review how it was handled and the decision taken, within 10 days of the appeal.
- By asking our local law society or another local firm of solicitors to review our handling of, and the decision on your Complaint (if they are willing to do this). This might take the form of mediation or some other type of alternative dispute resolution, within 10 days of the appeal.
After the review has taken place you will be informed of the outcome, within 5 days of the conclusion of the review.
Step 4 – The Legal Ombudsman
If you are still not satisfied, you can then contact the Legal Ombudsman about your Complaint provided you do so within six months of the end of our Internal Complaints Handling Procedure.
In addition, there are time limits relating to the date you first became aware or should have become aware of the problem. The relevant time limits are set out in the version of the Legal Ombudsman’s Scheme Rules in force from time to time (which can be accessed at:
You may also contact the Legal Ombudsman using the contact details provided below this may only be extended by the Legal Ombudsman in exceptional circumstances.
Ordinarily, you cannot use the Legal Ombudsman unless you have first attempted to resolve your Complaint using our internal Complaints Handling procedure, but you will be able to contact the Legal Ombudsman if:
- The Complaint has not been resolved to your satisfaction within eight weeks of first making the Complaint to us
- The Legal Ombudsman decides that there are exceptional reasons why the Legal Ombudsman should consider your Complaint sooner, or without you having to use our internal Complaints Handling Procedure first
- The Legal Ombudsman considers that your Complaint cannot be resolved using our internal Complaints Handling Procedure because the relationship between you and us has broken down irretrievably
If you wish to make a Complaint to the Legal Ombudsman you must be one of the following:
- An individual
- A micro-enterprise as defined in European Recommendation 2003/361/EC of 6 May 2003 (broadly, an enterprise with fewer than 10 staff and a turnover or balance sheet value not exceeding €2 million)
- A charity with an annual income less than £1 million
- A club, association or society with an annual income less than £1 million
- A trustee of a trust with a net asset value less than £1 million
- A personal representative or the residuary beneficiaries of an estate where a person with a Complaint died before referring it to the Legal Ombudsman
If you are not, you should be aware that you can only obtain redress by using our Complaints Handling Procedure or by mediation or arbitration, or by taking action through the Courts.
LEGAL OMBUDSMAN CONTACT DETAILS
PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ
0300 555 0333