If you have any concerns, we have a procedure in place which details how we handle complaints which is available on request. In essence, we have eight weeks to consider your complaint, if we have not addressed it within this time, or if you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint you can ask the Legal Ombudsman to consider the situation.
Ordinarily, the complainant must refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman no later than one year from the act/omission; or one year from when the complainant should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
As well as your right to complain about any of our bills under our complaints procedure, you can also apply for the bill to be assessed by the court under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974, in which case the Legal Ombudsman may not consider your complaint.
You should be aware that, when your complaint relates to a bill, the Legal Ombudsman will not consider your complaint while your bill is being assessed by a court.
A complainant to the Legal Ombudsman must be one of the following:
- An individual;
- A micro-enterprise as defined in European Recommendation 2003/361/EC of 6 May 2003 (broadly, an enterprise with fewer than 10 staff and a turnover or balance sheet value not exceeding €2 million);
- A charity with an annual income less than £1 million;
- A club, association or society with an annual income less than £1 million; or
- A trustee of a trust with a net asset value less than £1 million; or a personal representative or the residuary beneficiaries of an estate where a person with a complaint died before referring it to the Legal Ombudsman.
The Practice is committed to ensuring that all Partners, Directors, Members, Consultants and Employees give their full co-operation to the Legal Ombudsman in the event of any dispute or complaint against the Practice.
In addition to the Legal Ombudsman, the SRA 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. However, the SRA are not able to deal with issues of poor service.
Alternative complaints bodies such as ProMediate (www.promediate.co.uk) exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our Practice wish to use such a scheme. Please note, however, that this Practice does not agree to use such a scheme.