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We are committed to providing a high-quality legal service to all our clients. When something goes wrong we need you to tell us about it in order to help us improve our standards.
Ms Colleen Saunders is the firm’s Designated Complaints Handling Partner and the person with overall responsibility for complaints. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by post at DS Legal Eagle Tower, Montpellier Drive, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. GL50 3AH.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help you if you are concerned about our behaviour. 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.
You can raise your concerns with the Solicitor’s Regulation authority: www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor.page
Our complaints procedure
If you have a concern or a complaint, please contact us as soon as you are aware of the problem so this can be addressed. Please address your concerns to Colleen Saunders, DS Legal, Cheltenham Office, Eagle Tower, Montpellier Drive, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 1TA or by email to email@example.com
What will happen next?
- We will send you a letter acknowledging receipt of your complaint within five days of our receiving the complaint, enclosing a copy of this procedure. If you have special requirements due to a disability please let us know and we shall do our best to accommodate any alternative arrangements you may require.
- We will then investigate your complaint. This will normally involve passing your complaint to our complaints handling manager, Colleen Saunders, who will review your matter file and speak to the member of staff who acted for you.
- Colleen Saunders will then invite you to a meeting to discuss and, it is hoped, resolve your complaint. She will do this within 14 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.
- Within 7 days of the meeting, Colleen Saunders will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions she has agreed with you.
- If you do not want a meeting or it is not possible, Colleen Saunders will send you a detailed written reply to your complaint, including her suggestions for resolving the matter, within 21 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.
- At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, you should contact us again to explain why you remain unhappy with our response and we will review your comments. Depending on the matter we may at this stage arrange for another partner to review the decision.
- 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.
- If you are still not satisfied, you can then contact the Legal Ombudsman.
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 written response from us about your complaint.
- The Legal Ombudsman expects complaints to be made to them within one year of the date of the act or omission about which you are concerned or within one year of you realising there was a concern.
The Legal Ombudsman contact details are;
Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ.
Website : www.legalombudsman.org.uk.
Telephone: 0300 555 0333.
We are required to inform you that alternative complaints handling bodies (such Pro mediate, Brow Farm, Top Road, Frodsham, Cheshire WA6 6SP, 01928 732455, www.promediate.co.uk) exist which are able to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and we wish to use such a scheme. Whilst it is free to use the Legal Ombudsman service, there is a fee for using an alternative complaints handling body. Given the cost and the fact that mediation is not binding on you or us we see no benefit in this and it will be unusual for us to agree to a reference to such a body.
If we have to change any of the timescales above, we will let you know and explain why.
Please Note before contacting the Legal Ombudsman;
- If your complaint is specifically about our bill, you have the right to object to it and apply for an assessment of it under part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. If you should choose to exercise this right, and the court is assessing our bill, you may be unable to use the Legal Ombudsman service.
- If you are complaining as a business client, unless you are a “micro business” (as defined by the European Union), you may not be able to use the Legal Ombudsman scheme, and should check the guidance on Legal Ombudsman’s website.
- If you refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman as a trustee/personal representative (executor/administrator) or beneficiary of the estate/trust of a person who, before they died, had not referred the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman the period runs from when the deceased should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint; and when the complainant (or the deceased) should reasonably have known there was a cause for complaint will be assessed on the basis of the complainant’s (or deceased’s) own knowledge, disregarding what the complainant (or the deceased) might have been told if he/she had sought advice.
- If the ombudsman considers there are exceptional circumstances (e.g. serious illness or you were still within the time limits when you made your initial complaint to them) then he/she may extend any of the above time limits to the extent that he/she considers fair.
We trust this explains our timescale and approach to complaints.