Our Complaints Policy
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. This will help us to improve our standards.
Our Complaints Procedure
Preliminary (Informal) procedure
In the first instance you are encouraged to try and resolve any outstanding issues with the fee earner who is dealing with your matter. They will endeavour to try and deal with any difficulties which may arise.
Where the member of staff is available and the matter is relatively straightforward we would hope to resolve any problems within 7 days. If the matter is complex, requires more detailed investigation or the staff member is away from the office this may take longer in which case you will be advised of the likely timescale for our response.
If it is not possible for the fee earner to resolve the matter they will refer the matter to the Head of Department to investigate and to communicate with you regarding any problem with a view to resolving it. Where the matter is referred to the Head of Department we would hope to resolve the problem within a further 14 days.
If it is not possible to resolve the matter informally or the complaint is so serious that you feel that it should be dealt with immediately by way of formal complaint we would ask you to write to Neil Andrews, our Client Care Partner, setting out your concerns. You can write to him at 44/46 Parkstone Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 2PG.
What will happen next?
1. We will send you a letter acknowledging your complaint and may ask you to clarify or further explain the issues which concern you. We will also let you know the name of the person who will be dealing with your complaint. You can expect to receive our letter within 7 working days of us receiving your complaint.
2. We will record your complaint in our central register and open a file for your complaint. We will do this within 7 working days of receiving your complaint.
3. We will acknowledge your reply to our acknowledgement letter and confirm what will happen next. You can expect to hear from us within 7 working days of your reply.
4. We will then investigate your complaint considering the matters you raise, the file, and any information from the Fee earner concerned.
- we may then formally respond in writing to your complaint letting you know our decision; or
- we may ask you or the fee earner for more information. We will advise you of the likely timescale for any further investigation; or
- where appropriate we may invite you to meet the person who will be dealing with your complaint to discuss and, it is hoped, resolve your complaint.
We will do this within 14 working days of receiving all the details we need from the member of staff who acted for you.
5. Within 7 working days of the meeting we will write to you to confirm what took place and any suggestions we have agreed with you. If you do not want a meeting, or it is not possible, we will send you a detailed reply to your complaint. This will include our suggestions for resolving the matter. Our objective is to write to you within 14 workings days of us completing the investigation.
6. At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, you can write to us again within 14 days. We will then arrange to review our decision. This will happen in one of the following ways:
- the person who will be dealing with your complaint will review his own decision within 21 working days;
- we will arrange for someone in the firm who has not been involved in your complaint to review it. He/she will do this within 14 working days;
- Neil Andrews, our Client Care Partner, will review your complaint within 14 working days;
- we will invite you to agree to independent mediation. We will let you know how long this process will take.
7. We will let you know the result of the review within 14 working days of the end of the review. At this time we will write to you confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons.
8. If for any reason we are unable to resolve any problem between us including any complaint about your bill, then complaints and redress mechanisms are provided through the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Legal Ombudsman.
You may contact the Legal Ombudsman at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ (or in future the Office of Legal Complaints) to consider the complaint. You may also have the right to apply to the court for an assessment of a bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.
There is a time limit of 6 months from our notifying you of our decision within which any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman can be made.
N.B. If we have to change any of the timescales above we will let you know and explain why.
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