As a firm we are committed to providing a quality legal service to all our clients. Consequently, it is essential when something goes wrong or any client believes they have reason to complain that we have an effective procedure to assist the complete and early resolution of the problem. Only by doing so can we hope to maintain the quality standards we set ourselves and improve them by learning from what may have gone wrong and what our clients tell us.
Although not essential, in making your complaint it would be helpful to us if you could provide details of your concerns in writing (if you have not already done so). Your complaint should be addressed to the Complaints Handling Partner.
What will happen next?
1. We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint, set out our understanding of it and request your confirmation or seek any necessary clarification. We will also confirm who will deal with your complaint.
Within 2 days of its receipt
2. We will register your complaint in our Central Register (for monitoring and management information purposes).
Within 1 day of receipt of complaint
3. We will acknowledge receipt of your confirmation letter or telephone call and confirm what will happen next.
Within 1 day
4. We will then commence investigating your complaint. This will normally involve the following steps: –
a) The complaint will be referred to a Partner appropriate to that type of work.
Within 3 days
b) The Partner will ask the person who acted for you to provide them with a response to your complaint within 5 days.
Within 3 days
c) They will then examine the response and the file as against your complaint and, if necessary, speak to the person who acted for you.
Within 3 days of receipt of the response and file
5. The Partner will then write to you inviting you to meet with him to discuss and hopefully resolve your complaint.
Within a further 3 days
6. If a meeting is declined, or is for some reason impractical, the Partner will write to you with a detailed response to your complaint and with any suggestions they have for resolving it to our mutual satisfaction.
Within 5 days of completing the investigation
7. If a meeting between us takes place the Partner will still write to you to confirm what took place and detailing any agreed solution that was arrived at.
Within 2 days of meeting
8. If, at a meeting or from your written reply to the Partner’s detailed written response, you remain dissatisfied with what they say and how it is proposed to resolve your complaint we will arrange for the decision to be reviewed. This may happen in one of the following ways: –
a) Another Partner of the firm may review the handling by the Partner of your complaint and why you are dissatisfied with the decision.
Within 10 days
b) We may ask our Local Law Society or another local firm of Solicitors to review our handling of and the decision on your complaint (if they are willing to do this).
Within 5 days
c) We may invite you to agree to a process of formal mediation through an independent mediator (if this is available).
Within 5 days
The timescales for concluding the review process at (b) and (c) above will need to be agreed with the individuals involved but you will be told how long the process will take.
9. After the review has taken place you will be informed of the outcome. This will review our initial handling of your complaint and our decision on it.
Within 5 days of the conclusion of the review
10. If you still remain dissatisfied with how your complaint has been handled and the decision on it, we will write to you confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining why we consider our handling of, and decision on, it (and of any review) was reasonable. We
Within 5 days
will also supply you with the name and address of The Law Society’s Consumer Complaints Service to whom you may refer your complaint once we have concluded our professional obligation to try and resolve it.
If we are unable to resolve your complaint and you are still dissatisfied you may refer the matter to the Legal Ombudsman PO BOX 6806, Wolverhampton, WB1 9WJ.
The Legal Ombudsman deals with issues of poor service. If your concerns relate to Principals of professional conduct then you should refer the matter to the Solicitors Regulation Authority and their contact details can be found at www.sra.org.uk.
Although Attwood & Co will endeavour to comply with the standards for Complaint Handling set out herein this may not always be practical or appropriate and the firm should not be considered to be bound by the above procedure.