We are committed to providing a high quality legal service and endeavour to carry out our work on behalf of all clients in a prompt, efficient and professional manner. If you have any queries or concerns we invite you to raise these with the fee earner responsible for the conduct of your matter in the first instance.
Occasionally the fee earner is unable to resolve the issue to your satisfaction and in that event our formal complaints procedure will be adopted:-
1. It would be helpful for your complaint to be made in writing by letter or by e-mail addressed to Stacey Aston (Director).
2. To help us to understand your complaint, please tell us:
2.1. your full name and contact details
2.2. what you think we have got wrong
2.3. what you hope to achieve as a result of your complaint
2.4. your client reference (noted on all correspondence) and the person dealing with the matter
3. We will send an acknowledgement within 5 working days of receipt of your complaint, enclosing a copy of our complaints procedure.
4. We will investigate your complaint, which will usually involve:
4.1. reviewing your complaint
4.2. reviewing your file(s) and other relevant documents
4.3. speaking to the person who dealt with your matter
We may need to ask you for further information or documents. If so, we will ask you to provide the information within a specific period of time. We may also, if appropriate, invite you to a meeting or arrange a telephone call to discuss your complaint.
5. Within 6 weeks of receipt of your complaint, the Director will send you a substantive response to tell you what we have done or what we propose to do to resolve your complaint.
6. If the Director is unable to give a substantive response within this timescale they will write to you to explain the reason why and set out the timescale when you can expect a substantive response.
7. In all cases a copy of your complaint and the determination of that complaint by the Director will be sent to our Managing Partner, Edward Aston, who has overall responsibility for complaints. If you are not satisfied with the determination by the Director you may refer the complaint to the Managing Partner. To do so you should write to the Managing Partner within 7 days of receiving the determination from the Director setting out the reasons for your dissatisfaction.
8. The Managing Partner will review your complaint and, where appropriate, may offer to meet with you to discuss your concerns. Any review or offer of meeting will normally be sent within 10 working days of your referral to the Managing Partner. If the Managing Partner is not able to deal with the matter in that timescale he will write to you with an explanation and confirmation as to when you can expect to receive his determination.
9. We have 8 weeks to consider your complaint. If we have not resolved it within this time you may be able to complain to the Legal Ombudsman. This applies if you are an individual, a business with fewer than 10 employees and turnover or assets not exceeding a certain threshold, a charity or trust with a net income of less than £1m, or if you fall within certain other categories (you can find out more from the Legal Ombudsman). The Legal Ombudsman will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your matter.
Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.
10. Normally you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within 6 months of our final written response to your complaint and within 6 years of the date of the reason for the complaint (or within 3 years of discovery of the reason for it).
Legal Ombudsman contact details:
Call 0300 555 0333 between 9.00 – 17.00 Monday to Friday
Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ.
11. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) bodies (such as Ombudsman Services www.ombudsman-services.org/) exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme. We have, however, chosen not to adopt an ADR process. If, therefore, you wish to complain further, you should contact the Legal Ombudsman.
12. If you are unhappy with our behaviour, the Solicitors Regulation Authority can help. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or characteristic. Visit: www.sra.org.uk
13. We will not charge you for handling your complaint but please note that if we have issued a bill for work done on the matter, and all or some of the bill is not paid, we may be entitled to charge interest on the amount outstanding. This is explained in our Terms of Business. The Legal Ombudsman service is free of charge.
14. Please note the matter will be treated as resolved if there is no follow up from you within three months of any letter of substantive response.
Legal Ombudsman – www.legalombudsman.org.uk
Solicitors Regulation Authority – www.sra.org.uk
If your complaint relates to a breach of SRA Principles or to an allegation of dishonesty or discrimination, you should report the matter to the SRA – www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor.page#how-report-sra