COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE

 

All clients should be kept informed as to the progress of their matter. It is accepted that facts and events sometimes change, emergencies and unforeseen factors come to light. The key to good client relationships is communication between firm and client.

  1. The client should always be advised at the outset of the right to raise a complaint. Advice about complaints is included in our Terms of Business which is sent to every client upon our instruction to act.
  1. If a client is unhappy with any aspect of the service we have provided, the client’s concerns should be raised with the person who has day to day conduct of the file (the fee earner). We will do our best to resolve any issues.
  1. Making a complaint will not affect how we handle the client’s matter or case.
  1. A client who raises a complaint must behave and must be treated politely and courteously.
  1. A client may raise a complaint by telephone, in writing (including by e-mail) or in person.
  1. If the complaint cannot be resolved with the fee earner the client must be advised of his/her right to make a formal complaint and be advised of the process. This complaints procedure is accessible to all staff and should be sent to a client who confirms they wish to progress a complaint.
  1. The client shall set out his/her formal complaint in writing and send the complaint to the Senior Partner, Capstick Dale & Partners Solicitors at 224 Main Road, Gidea Park, Romford, Essex RM2 5HA.
  1. The formal complaint will be acknowledged in writing within 7 days of receipt (unless exceptional circumstances), and the acknowledgement should advise of the date by which the client should receive a considered response. Unless otherwise advised the firm will seek to resolve the dispute within 8 weeks of the receipt of the formal complaint.
  1. The Senior Partner will submit a copy of the formal complaint to the fee earner and request a response within 14 days (unless exceptional circumstances). The fee earner will submit a reply, together with relevant documentation or the file, as appropriate, within that time frame.
  1. The Senior Partner will respond in writing to the formal complaint within 28 days of receipt setting out the conclusions and any action necessary.
  1. The client is asked to respond within 14 days of receipt of this letter, confirming that he/she is satisfied or otherwise. If no response is received the matter will be deemed to have been concluded.
  1. If the client remains unsatisfied he/she should advise the Senior Partner who may arrange a telephone call or suitable appointment to discuss with the client the reasons why the client remains unsatisfied.
  1. The Senior Partner will write to the client within 14 days of the discussion to summarise the issues still in dispute and the firm’s approach to these issues. This will, unless otherwise communicated, conclude the firm’s internal complaints procedure.
  1. The client must be advised in the final letter, if for any reason the client nevertheless remains unhappy he/she has a right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman.
  1. The Legal Ombudsman can consider the client’s complaint if we are unable to resolve the complaint ourselves. The Legal Ombudsman will look at the client’s complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle the client’s case.
  1. Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that the client has tried to resolve his/her complaint with us first. If the client has, then the client must take his/her complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:
  • Within six months of receiving a final response to the complaint

and

  • No more than six years from the date of act/omission; or
  • No more than three years from when the client should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
  1. If the client would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, the client can go to legalombudsman.org.uk or contact them:

 

  1. The Solicitors Regulation Authority (“SRA”) can help the client if he/she is concerned about our behaviour. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing the client’s money or treating the client unfairly because of his/her age, a disability or other characteristic. More Information on how the client can raise his/her concerns with the SRA can be found at sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor.

 

  1. Capstick Dale & Partners Solicitors are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority – registration number 44693.