We seek to give our clients the best possible service and at the same time to behave fairly and with integrity so as to best serve both our clients’ interests and the public interest. If you are unhappy with or concerned about our service or behaviour then you should inform us of your complaint as soon as possible, so that we can do our best to resolve the problem promptly and fairly and to your satisfaction.
In the first instance please contact the person who is working on your matter, or who you have been dealing with, to discuss your concerns. Please provide full details of your concerns in writing, on the telephone or, if you would prefer, at a meeting.
If you are still not happy, then you may wish to make a formal complaint.
If you do wish to make a formal complaint, we will of course look to resolve it with you and look to do so promptly, fairly and free of charge.
Not a client but you wish to complain about our behaviour
If you are not a client, we will only be able to deal with your complaint if you allege that we have acted in breach of the Solicitors Regulation Authority Standards and Regulations.
Any such complaint should be marked for the attention of David Hansel, Head of Complaints. If the breach appears self-evident, we will not need to seek further clarification. In all other cases, we may ask you to specify the alleged breach before we deal with your complaint.
If we agree there has been a breach, we will tell you as soon as reasonably possible and apologise. This does not affect your right to report the matter to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (see Clients and non-clients: complaining about our behaviour below).
Our clients: complaining about our invoices (bills)
If your complaint is in relation to an invoice that we have sent you, then please discuss this first with the partner who sent it to you and do so as soon as possible after you receive it. As set out in our General Terms (which form part of our engagement letter with you) and on our invoices, you can challenge the bill by applying for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. Note that as set out in our General Terms we will be entitled to charge interest on all, or part of a bill, that is unsuccessfully challenged by you.
Our clients: how to make a formal complaint
1. Please make your formal complaint by email to our complaints partner, currently David Hansel, describing in reasonable detail the act or omission that you complain about and setting out why you are unhappy or concerned about our service. Please ensure that you are clear in your email that you are making a “formal complaint”.
2. We will aim to acknowledge receipt of your complaint in writing usually by email and usually within two working days of receiving it and enclose a copy of this procedure.
3. We will then investigate your complaint. This will normally involve our complaints partner or another partner reviewing your file and speaking to the member(s) of staff who acted for you.
4. Within 14 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter we will aim either to provide a substantive response or to invite you to a meeting to discuss, and either way hopefully resolve your complaint. We may, in the interim period, contact you to clarify our understanding of the complaint and to ask you for copies of any relevant documents.
5. If you do not want a meeting or it is not possible for one to be held, we will instead offer you a chance to discuss the matter by telephone.
6. Within seven days of the meeting, or any telephone conversation we have with you instead of a meeting, we will aim to write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions we have agreed with you.
7. In any case we will send you a written reply to your complaint, including suggestions for resolving the matter, within 21 days of sending you the written acknowledgement of your complaint referred to in paragraph 2 above.
8. At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, you should contact us again and we will arrange for another partner, somebody unconnected with the matter at the firm or, if the firm believes it is reasonable and justified in the circumstances to do so, a solicitor from another firm to review the decision.
9. We will ordinarily write to you within 21 days of receiving your request for a review, confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons.
10. If we have to change any of these timescales we will let you know and explain why.
11. We may record on a database the nature of your complaint, our investigation of it and the remedial action taken. You may be asked to confirm in writing whether the complaint has been satisfactorily resolved.
What to do if we cannot resolve your complaint
The Legal Ombudsman is an independent body that may be able to help you if we are unable to resolve your complaint ourselves. They will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your matter.
The Legal Ombudsman can accept complaints from individuals and small businesses, charities, clubs, societies, associations and trusts with a turnover less than a certain amount.
Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:
within six months of receiving a final response from us to your complaint;
no more than one year from the date of the act/omission; or
no more than one year from when you first realised that there was a concern.
If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, please contact them. Contact details:
Call: 0300 555 0333 between 9.00 to 17.00.
Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
Clients and non-clients: complaining about our behaviour
The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help you if you are concerned about our behaviour, including in circumstances where you are (or are not) a client of the firm. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic.
Visit their website to see how you can raise your concerns about our behaviour with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.