Complaints Procedure and Information

posted on 14.11.2018 by Peter Scholl

I am committed to providing a high-quality legal service to all my clients. When something goes wrong I need you to tell me about it. This will help me to maintain and improve my standards.

My complaints procedure

If you have a complaint, please contact me with the details.

What will happen next?

1. I will send you a letter acknowledging your complaint and asking you to confirm or explain the details. You can expect to receive my letter within 2 days of me receiving your complaint.

2. I will record your complaint in my central register and open a file for your complaint. I will do this within a day of receiving your complaint.

3. I will acknowledge your reply and confirm what will happen next. You can expect to hear from me within a day of your reply.

4. I will then start to investigate your complaint. This may involve one or more of the following steps:

a. I will consider your complaint again. I will then send you my detailed reply or invite you to a meeting to discuss the matter. I will do this within 10 days.
b. I may ask someone who is not connected with the complaint may review my decision;
c. another firm of solicitors may be engaged to review your complaint if we can agree how costs will be dealt with;
d. I may invite you to agree to independent mediation;
e. you may propose for consideration another manner in which the issues may be reviewed.

The targeted time scale for the above is 14 days but that may take longer if a third party is involved.

5. I will then write inviting you to meet me and discuss and hopefully resolve your complaint. I will do this within one week.

6. Within a week of the meeting I will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions I have agreed with you.
7. If you do not want a meeting or it is not possible, I will send you a detailed reply to your complaint. This will include my suggestions for resolving the matter. I will do this within a week of completing my investigation.

8. At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, you can write to me again. I will then arrange to review my decision. This may happen in one of the following ways:

a. I may review the decision myself;
b. someone who is not connected with the complaint may review my decision;
c. another firm of solicitors may be engaged to review your complaint if we can agree how costs will be dealt with;
d. I may invite you to agree to independent mediation;
e. you may seek review in another manner in which the issues may be reviewed.

The targeted time scale for the above is 14 days but that may take longer if a third party is involved.

9. I will let you know the result of the review within a week of the end of the review. At this time I will write to you confirming my final position on your complaint and explaining my reasons.

10. If I have to change any of the time-scales above, I will let you know and explain why.

Further Information

You are at any time entitled to obtain independent legal advice from another legal practitioner.

The Legal Ombudsman, set up by the Office for Legal Complaints, deals with complaints against lawyers, is an independent complaints-handling body and operates a non-judicial dispute resolution procedure. If you are unhappy with the service that you receive from me or about a bill and if we have been unable to resolve the complaint to your satisfaction, you can raise the matter with the Legal Ombudsman via the Legal Ombudsman’s website www.legalombudsman.org.uk or telephone (0300 555 0333) or by email to enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk or by writing to:

Legal Ombudsman
PO Box 6806
Wolverhampton
WV1 9WJ

The Legal Ombudsman service is only available to members of the public, very small businesses, charities, clubs and trusts. Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from me about your complaint.

Some clients may not have the right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman, including:
• most businesses (unless they are defined as micro-enterprises);
• charities or clubs with an annual income of more than £1 million;
• Trustees of trusts with asset value of more than £1 million.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (the Regulator of this practice) sets out helpful guidance on complaints – click here to see – including how to complain to your Solicitor and “When you should report a Solicitor to the SRA” . Briefly, the SRA deal with cases where practice it regulate have breached the SRA Principles. The Code of Conduct published by the SRA may be seen by clicking here. The contact details for the SRA may be seen by clicking here.

For some matters you may be entitled to apply to the Court under the Solicitors Act 1974 for an assessment of my charges, and the Court may on such terms if any as the Court thinks fit order that the account be assessed. Every order for the assessment of the account shall require the Costs Officer to assess not only the account but also the costs of assessment, and to certify what is due to or made payable by us in respect of the account, and the costs of assessment. No such order can be made after the expiration of twelve months from the delivery of the account except in special circumstances and on such terms as regards costs of the assessment as the Court may think fit. Please see Section 70, 71 and 72 of the Solicitors Act 1974 for further details.