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.
If you have a complaint, please contact us with the details.
What will happen next?
- We will send you a letter acknowledging receipt of your complaint within five days of receiving it, enclosing a copy of this procedure. At this stage we may ask you to confirm or explain in further detail the areas of concern.
- We will then investigate your complaint. This will normally involve passing your complaint to Eileen Longcake who is the Firm’s Practice Manager and who will liaise with the Firm’s complaint Partner, John Stevenson, who will review your matter file and speak to the member of staff who acted for you. If your complaint relates to a matter involving John Stevenson or Eileen Longcake, the complaint will be handled by Michael Johnson.
- He/she will then invite you to a meeting to discuss and hopefully resolve your complaint. He/she will aim to do this within 14 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.
- Within three days of the meeting, John Stevenson or Michael Johnson will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions he has agreed with you.
- If you do not want a meeting or it is not possible, John Stevenson or Michael Johnson will send you a detailed written reply to your complaint, including his suggestions for resolving the matter, and he will aim to do this within 21 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter. The firm would also consider alternative ways to resolve your complaint which may include for example, the option to transfer to another solicitor within the Firm, a reduction in fee or partial refund.
- At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, you should contact us again and we will arrange for another partner or someone unconnected with the matter at the firm to review the decision or, if appropriate and with your consent, we can arrange for another local solicitor or someone experienced in mediation 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 we have to change any of the timescales above, we will let you know and explain why.
- We have eight weeks to consider your complaint. If we have not resolved it within this time you may complain to the Legal Ombudsman.
Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman
- To be eligible to complain to LeO you must be an individual; or
(a) an enterprise which, at the time at which you refer the complaint to the respondent, is a micro-enterprise within the meaning of Article 1 and Article 2(1) and (3) of the Annex to Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC, as that Recommendation had effect at the date it was adopted;
(b) a charity with an annual income net of tax of less than £1 million at the time at which the complainant refers the complaint to the respondent;
(c) a club, association or organisation, the affairs of which are managed by its members or a committee or committees of its members, with an annual income net of tax of less than £1 million at the time at which the complainant refers the complaint to the respondent;
(d) a trustee of a trust with an asset value of less than £1 million at the time at which the complainant refers the complaint to the respondent;
(e) a personal representative of an estate of a person; or
(f) a beneficiary of an estate of a person.
For (e) and (f) above there is a condition that the services to which the complaint relates were provided to a person who has subsequently died; and who had not at the time of his or her death already referred the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.
Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint or within six years of the act or omission about which you are complaining occurring (or if outside of this period, within three years of when you should reasonably have been aware of it).
The contact details for the Legal Ombudsman are shown below:
P O Box 6806
Telephone: 0300 555 0333 (from 8.30am to 5.30pm)
By minicom on: 0300 555 1777
From overseas: +44 121 245 3050