How a complaint will be dealt with:
Clients are notified in our client care letter of their right to complain and they are told that the matter will be considered in the initial instance by the person they have been dealing with and if the matter remains unresolved or, if the client prefers, by the Client Care Director, Alison Dukes to whom will be passed a copy of all relevant correspondence. If the complaint is about Alison Dukes the matter will be considered by the Deputy Client Care Director Grant McCall. If Alison Dukes is absent or unavailable any complaint will be considered by her Deputy Grant McCall.
All complaints, oral or written, will be discussed with the department head/supervisor and should also be notified to the Client Care Director in any event.
If the complaint refers to a fee earner, the initial response will be drafted by that fee earner usually after discussion with their Department Head and/ or Alison Dukes.
At Step 3 the draft letter, and if she requests it, the file itself (if the complaint relates to a client matter) must be shown to Alison Dukes. If the matter is not resolved at Stage 3, the file must be passed as soon as possible to Alison Dukes. She will contact the client as soon as possible either by telephone or letter identifying herself as the Client Care Director acknowledging the complaint and stating a timescale within which the complaint will be dealt with (which will not exceed a period of 8 weeks except with the consent or at the request of the client) and the action it is proposed to take. Usually she will ask the client his or her preferred mode of progressing the matter, whether in writing or by meeting. If a meeting takes place the client will be asked whether they also wish to receive a subsequent letter of response/ detailing agreed outcome. At Step 4 copies of all correspondence/ notes of meetings relating to the complaint will be kept centrally.
The matter will be discussed with the member of staff about whom the complaint has been made. If the matter is an ongoing matter at this stage the Client Care Director will give both client and fee earner opportunity to elect for the matter to be taken over and completed by another fee earner within the department.
Once the cause of any problem of which a client has complained has been identified, the client care director will endeavour to offer and agree appropriate redress. The objective is to ensure that the client is satisfied that the complaint is being dealt with seriously, has received a prompt response, is assured that the matter is being fairly reviewed and is notified as soon as possible of the outcome.
If we have been unable to settle your complaint using our internal complaints process. You have a right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman, an independent complaints body, established under the Legal Services Act 2007, that deals with legal services complaints.
You have six months from the date of our final letter in which to complain to the Legal Ombudsman.
PO Box 6806
Telephone: 0300 555 0333
Email address: email@example.com
Alternative complaints bodies such as Small Claims Mediation (small-claims-mediation.co.uk) exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should you and our firm wish to use such a scheme. We will provide further details should we not be able to settle your complaint.
We are bound by our professional code, the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2007 which can be accessed at www.sra.org.uk.