Our Complaints Policy
We are committed to delivering high quality professional services to all our clients. When something goes wrong we need you to tell us about it. This will help us to improve our service.
Our complaints procedure
If you have a complaint, please contact
The Client Care Partner (CCP) / Officer (CCO) of the department involved in your complaint:
- Family – Debra Emery – 023 8071 8057 (CCP)
- Wills, Tax, Trusts & Court of Protection, Probate (Richmond)
Suzanne Mynors 0208 334 0310 (CCP)
- Wills, Tax, Trusts & Court of Protection, Probate (Lymington)
Mike Wilson 01590 625872 (CCP)
Corporate & commercial
- Roger Bailey – 023 8071 8061 (CCP)
- Residential – John Hatchard – 01590 625822 (CCP)
- Commercial – Mike Caton – 023 8071 8016 (CCO)
- Personal injury, medical negligence & education – Tim Spring* – 023 8071 8138 (CCP)
- Immigration & education – Tim Spring* – 023 8071 8138 (CCP)
- Asset recovery – Mark Osgood – 023 8071 8140 (CCP)
*If the complaint relates to the Client Care Partner for Personal Injury etc., please contact Damian Horan on 023 8071 8054, for any other Client Care Partner/Officer please contact one of the other Client Care Partners/Officers.
You may do so in writing (by email or letter), at a meeting or by telephone. In this latter case, we may ask you to put your concerns to us in writing to ensure we fully understand the position.
What will happen next?
1. We will telephone whenever possible but in any event we will, within two working days of receiving your complaint:
- Write to you to acknowledge your complaint and ask you to confirm or explain the details as we understand them.
- Confirm who will deal with your complaint.
- Record your complaint in our central register.
- Open a file for your complaint.
2. At each of the following stages of addressing your complaint we will advise you of the likely timescale within which we will take the next step. This may depend on a number of factors including the complexity of the issues raised by your complaint. However, as a general rule you can expect us to take each step and/or to receive responses from us within 14 days.
3. On acknowledging your complaint we will start to investigate it. This may involve one or more of the following steps:
- We may ask the member of staff who acted for you to reply to your complaint.
- We may review their proposed reply and the information in your file. We may then ask them for more information.
- We may invite you to meet the Client Care Partner/Officer to discuss and hopefully resolve your complaint. We will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions 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.
4. At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, you can contact us again. We will then arrange to review our decision. This will happen in one of the following ways:
- The Client Care Partner/Officer will review the response of the member of staff.
- The Client Care Partner/Officer will review his/her own decision.
- We will arrange for a Partner in the Firm, who has not been involved in your complaint, to review it.
5. We will carry out the review and let you know the result of the review within 14* days of receipt of your request for the review. At this time we will write to you confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons. Subject to point 6. below, if you are still not satisfied, you can contact the Legal Ombudsman (see below) about your complaint.
(*Unless otherwise stated this means 14 calendar days)
6. The right to refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman is not open to all types of client, e.g. large commercial companies. If this affects you, we will advise you and confirm what action you may be able to take.
7. If we have to change any of our timescales we will let you know and explain why.
If at any point in the handling of your complaint we do not hear from you in response to our correspondence or other communications for a period of eight weeks we will regard the matter as resolved and close the complaint.
The Legal Ombudsman
The Legal Ombudsman is an independent complaints handling body set up by the Office for Legal Complaints under the Legal Services Act 2007. It deals with complaints of poor service by lawyers.
As a general rule the Legal Ombudsman will require you to have first raised your complaint with us before they become involved.
If, at the end of using our internal complaints handling process, you are not satisfied with how we have dealt with the matter you may refer the matter to the Legal Ombudsman, who operates a system for resolving such complaints and which we are required to adhere to. Normally, you will need to do so as soon as possible and within six months of receipt of our final written response regarding your complaint and no more than 6 years from the date of the act or omission; or no more than 3 years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
You may contact the Legal Ombudsman as follows:
PO BOX 6806
WV1 9WJ Telephone
Helpline: 0300 555 0333
Overseas: +44 121 245 3050
Minicom: 0300 555 1777
Solicitors Regulation Authority (“SRA”)
As set out above, if we are unable to resolve a complaint about poor service you may refer the matter to the Legal Ombudsman. If you think we have breached an SRA Principle, you may raise your concern with the SRA. The principles govern our behaviour and details of the SRA Principles can be found at http://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/.
The SRA can be contacted via their website: http://www.sra.org.uk/contactus/ or by the following means:
- Phone: 0370 606 2555 (or +44(0)121 329 6800 for international callers)
- Fax:+44 (0)121 616 1999
- Post: Solicitors Regulation Authority, The Cube, 199 Wharf Street, Birmingham, B1 1RN
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) bodies
In addition to the Legal Ombudsman, alternative complaints bodies exist (Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) bodies) which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services from consumers, should a client and law firm wish to use such a scheme and they are contained in a list held by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute. As with the Legal Ombudsman, this is at the end of using any internal complaints handling process.
You may access the list of ADR bodies on the European Commission’s website, but note that many are industry specific and not appropriate for dealing with complaints of this nature.
If we are unable to resolve your complaint, and it relates to a contract we entered into online or by other electronic means, you may also be able to submit your complaint to an approved alternative dispute resolution (ADR) provider in the UK via the EU ‘ODR platform’.
The ODR platform is an interactive website offering a single point of entry for disputes between consumers and traders relating to online contracts. The ODR platform is available to consumer clients only, i.e. where you have instructed us for purposes outside your trade, business, craft or profession.
The website address for the ODR platform is: http://ec.europa.eu/odr.
We are not required to, and have chosen not to adopt an ADR process because we consider the service offered by the Legal Ombudsman to be the most appropriate means of resolving complaints about legal services.