DEALING WITH CLIENT CONCERNS AND COMPLAINTS
We want to give you the best possible service and we are committed to providing high quality legal advice and client care. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service(s) we have provided then you should inform us immediately, so that we can do our best to resolve the problem. In the first instance, it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your case to discuss your concerns and he/she will do their best to resolve any issues at this stage. If, however, you would like to make a formal complaint, you should complain as soon as possible. Your complaint letter must state clearly what the complaint issue is, and how you would like it to be resolved.
Please read our full complaints procedure below which sets out the steps that we will take upon receipt of your complaint.
Our Complaints procedure
- We will send you a letter acknowledging receipt of your complaint within three days of receiving it, enclosing a copy of this procedure.
- We will then investigate your complaint. This will normally involve passing your complaint to the person with direct responsibility for the conduct of your case.
- Upon receipt of your complaint, your case owner will invite you to a meeting to discuss and hopefully resolve your complaint. He/she will do this within 14 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.
- Within three days of the meeting, your case owner will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions or course of action that you have both agreed upon.
- If you do not want a meeting or it is not conveniently possible for you to attend, your case owner will send you a detailed written reply to your complaint including our proposed suggestions for resolving the matter, within 21 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter. If, for any reason, your case owner is unable to respond within 20 days, he/she will tell you why, and when he/she will anticipate providing a detailed response.
- At this stage, if we are unable to resolve the complaint in this way, and if you are still not satisfied, you should contact us again and we will arrange for another senior member of staff in our firm unconnected with your matter to review the case owner’s decision and examine again the basis of your complaint.
- We will write to you within 14 days of receiving your request for a review, confirming our final position on your complaint, and explaining our reasons for arriving at our final position.
- If you are still not satisfied that we have responded to your complaint appropriately or indeed simply not satisfied with our response, we have provided details below of who else can help resolve your complaint.
- If we have to change any of the timescales above, we will let you know and explain why.
What to do if we cannot resolve your complaint – Who else can help
The Legal Ombudsman (LeO) could help you if you are not happy with your solicitor’s work or service and you need to put things right.
- Not replying to your emails, letters or calls.
- Losing your documents or giving you unclear advice.
- Charging you an amount you are not happy with.
- Not explaining issues properly so you do not understand.
The Legal Ombudsman can 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 case.
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 to your complaint; and
- No more than six years from the date of act/omission; or
- No more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
The contact details for the Legal Ombudsman are: Visit: www.legalombudsman.org.uk; Call: 0300 555 0333 between 9am and 5pm; EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org; POST: Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) could also help you if you think a solicitor might be dishonest or you have concerns about their behaviour or professional conduct. The SRA deal with cases where firms or those they regulate have breached the SRA Principles which they have set for the profession.
- Shutting down their law firm without telling you.
- Dishonesty or deliberately overcharging you.
- Taking or losing your money.
- Treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic.
Most of the time, complaints about solicitors are about poor service, and therefore should be sent to the Legal Ombudsman. If the Legal Ombudsman thinks your case involves a breach of the SRA Principles, they will refer your case to the SRA. Likewise, if you report a solicitor to the SRA for poor service, they will refer you to the Legal Ombudsman. The SRA does not have the power to award compensation for poor service, or to reduce or refund your legal fees.
Dr. Abess A.N. Taqi
Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLP)
DIRECTOR – VIRGO SOLICITORS LIMITED