What to do if you have a complaint
I want to provide clients with the best possible service. If at any point you are unhappy or concerned about the service I have provided, please inform me immediately, so that I can do my best to resolve the problem.
In the first instance it may be helpful to contact me to discuss your concerns in order to try to resolve the matter informally. However, if you would like to make a formal complaint you can follow the formal complaints procedure set out below. Making a complaint will not affect my instructions and the services I provide, though it may cause a conflict. This is explained in my Complaints Policy below.
This firm and I are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. If your concern relates to compliance with our professional rules (for example, regarding matters of honesty or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or another characteristic), then you can still ask me to address this directly or through our Complaints Policy. In the alternative, you are entitled to raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority directly.
Formal Complaints Policy
If you have a complaint, you should write to me at Karen Tickner, P.O. Box 57766, London NW11 1GB and by email email@example.com. Your letter should set out the full details of your complaint, including what you feel went wrong and what remedy you seek. You should enclose all relevant correspondence or documentation to support your complaint. I recommend using special delivery when corresponding with me about a complaint. That way, you will know when I have received your complaint.
Complaints and conflicts of interest
As a regulated firm of solicitors, I must comply with my professional rules. These require me not to act where I may find myself in a position of a conflict of interest. A conflict of interest would arise in a situation where, on the one hand I have a duty to act in your best interests, and on the other hand my own interests (for example, in light of a complaint raised, it would require me to take a different approach).
This should in no way affect whether you choose to make a complaint. However, you should be aware that there are circumstances where, once you have made a complaint, I may no longer be able to act for you on the matter. In this case, I would let you know and discuss with you how best to proceed, bearing in mind my overriding duty to comply with my professional rules.
What will happen once I have received your complaint?
I will acknowledge receipt of your complaint in writing within three working days of my receipt of the complaint.
I will start to investigate your complaint. Where I believe a telephone conversation could assist in resolving the complaint, then, within eight working days of receiving your complaint, I will endeavour to resolve your complaint by agreement over the telephone. Where I speak with you on the telephone and am unable to resolve your complaint by agreement within eight working days or where I do not believe a telephone conversation would be appropriate, then within eight weeks of receiving your complaint, I will write to you with my findings, which may include a suggested solution where appropriate.
I will endeavour to provide my final determination letter within eight weeks of receiving your complaint to me.
Finally, please note that where it is reasonable to do so, I may increase some of the timescales detailed above. If this is the case, then I will inform you in writing. This may be the case where you have multiple complaints that all need to be investigated, or where it takes longer than anticipated to contact an important witness whose evidence is necessary for the investigation, or as a sole practitioner where my volume of work or other commitments make it difficult for me to investigate your matter in the usual time frame.
What to do if you are not satisfied with the firm’s response
In the event that you are not satisfied with the firm’s response, or if I do not resolve your complaint within eight weeks of your contacting me, then the Legal Ombudsman may be able to consider your complaint. There are, however, restrictions to this service, as set out on the Ombudsman’s website (see below).
If you wish to contact the Legal Ombudsman, you should contact them within six months of the date of me sending to you my final resolution letter. In addition, you should be aware that the Legal Ombudsman will not accept your complaint if:
• more than six years have elapsed from the date of the act or omission giving rise to the complaint; or
• more than three years have elapsed from the time when you should have known about the complaint; or
• the date of the act or omission giving rise to the complaint was before 6 October 2010.
For further information, you can write to the Legal Ombudsman at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can telephone them on 0300 555 0333.
You may also be able to object to my bill by applying to the court for an assessment under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. If you exercise this right, you could be prevented from making a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. In addition, if you apply to the court for an assessment and if all or part of the bill remains unpaid at the end of that assessment, I am entitled to charge interest. There are strict time limits that apply to this process and you may wish to seek independent legal advice.