Our complaints policy
We are committed to providing a high quality legal service to all of 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
Please contact Mr. Skinner, our client care consultant, if you have a complaint. You may write to him at 19 Town Square, Basildon, Essex SS14 1BD. Mr. Skinner will pass your complaint to the director in charge of the department involved in your complaint.
What will happen next?
1. We shall send you a letter, acknowledging your complaint and asking you to confirm or explain the details which you have given to us. We shall also let you know the name of the person who will be dealing with your complaint. You may expect to receive this letter within seven working days of our receiving your complaint.
2. We shall record your complaint in our central register and open a file.
3. We shall respond promptly to your reply to our acknowledgement letter and confirm what will happen next.
4. We shall then begin to investigate your complaint. This may involve our taking one or more of the following steps:-
- We may ask the member of staff who acted for you to reply to your complaint within five working days.
- We may examine his or her reply and the information in your complaint file. We may then ask him or her for more information. This may be up to seven working days after receiving his or her reply and the file.
- We may invite you to meet to discuss (and hopefully resolve) your complaint. We shall do this within five working days after receiving all of the information required from the member of staff who acted for you. We shall write to you after the meeting, confirming what took place and any solutions we have agreed with you.
- We may send to you a detailed reply to your complaint. This will include our suggestions for resolving the matter. This will happen within five working days of our completing our investigations.
5. If you are still not satisfied at this stage you should write to us again. We shall then arrange to review our decision. This will happen in one of the following ways:-
- The person dealing with your complaint will review his own decision within five working days of your contacting us.
- We shall arrange for Mr. Skinner to review your complaint.
- We may ask our local Law Society or another local company of solicitors to review your complaint. We shall let you know how long this process will take.
- We shall invite you to agree to independent mediation. We shall let you know how long this process will take.
- We shall let you know the outcome after the end of the review. We shall write to you at this time, confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons. In all cases we will endeavour to complete the investigation of your complaint within two months of first receiving it. We shall also give you the name and address of the Legal Complaints Service. If you are still not satisfied you should contact the Legal Complaints Service about your complaint.
We shall let you know if we need to change any of the timescales indicated above and explain why.
In the unlikely event that you have reason to be dissatisfied with the service received or our bill, please contact the director responsible for the department dealing with your matter. They will provide you with a copy of our complaints procedure upon request. If the matter cannot be resolved with that director, the matter will be referred to our client care consultant, Andrew Skinner.
If for any reason we are unable to resolve the problem between us then you may refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman (www.legalombudsman.org.uk) at PO Box 6167, Slough SL1 0EH. The Ombudsman can be contacted by telephoning 0300 555 0333 or by email at email@example.com
The time limit for referring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman will be not later than 6 months following any final response provided by this Practice.
Furthermore you should be aware that there is an additional time limit imposed by the Legal Ombudsman which is that a complaint may not be brought later than one year from the date:
- Of the act or omission being complained about; or
- When the complainant should have realised that there was cause for complaint.
The Legal Ombudsman will have discretion to accept out-of-time complaints in circumstances where it deems it “fair and reasonable to do so”.
The Legal Ombudsman can dismiss or discontinue a case:
- If they are satisfied that the complainant has not suffered “significant” loss, distress, inconvenience or detriment.
- Where the size or complexity of the complaint, or the behaviour of the complainant, results in the complaint requiring a “disproportionate” use of resources.
- Where there has been “undue delay” in bringing a complaint.
- Where this company has made a reasonable offer to resolve the matter that has been accepted by the complainant before they referred the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.
The Legal Ombudsman will have discretion to consider a complaint to have been resolved on the basis of an investigator’s case decision if neither party provides “any substantive reasons” for disagreeing with that decision.
The Legal Ombudsman may conclude that a final decision is not needed on a case if no substantive issues have been raised in response to the investigator’s findings or remedy.
The Legal Ombudsman will expect this company to honour a recommendation by the Legal Ombudsman that a remedy is payable.
Do not send original documents to the Legal Ombudsman. They will scan any documents you send us to make computer copies and then destroy the originals.
If this company instructs a barrister on your behalf, you will also have the right to complain about the barrister to the barrister’s chambers and ultimately to the Legal Ombudsman. By instructing this company you give it the authority, if the company feels it is in your best interests, should the company instruct a barrister on your behalf, to pass your contact details to the barrister’s chambers in order that they may provide you with details of their complaints procedure.
Please note that the Legal Ombudsman’s services are only available to all members of the public, very small businesses, charities, clubs and trusts. If you have any doubt as to your right to take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman then you should contact the Legal Ombudsman direct to clarify the position.
If your complaint relates to this company’s bill then you may also have the right to object to the bill by applying to the court for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.
If your complaint relates to mediation services and your complaint is not accepted, you are entitled to appeal to the CMC (Civil Mediation Council) on certain grounds. Details of the CMC’s appeal processes can be found here: https://civilmediation.org/complaints/.
What to do if you are unhappy with this company’s behaviour?
The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help if you are concerned about this company’s 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. Please visit their website to see how you can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor/