We are committed to providing a high-quality legal service to all our clients. When something goes wrong, we need our clients to tell us about it. This will help improve our standards. Whenever possible, please raise any initial client care problems with the person acting on your case to give them the opportunity of resolving matters with you. Often, matters can be quickly resolved in this way.
If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you have received, or about the bill, please contact us by post to our office at 112 High Street West, Sunderland SR1 1TX, telephone 0191 514 4323, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case.
What will happen next?
- Your complaint will be passed immediately to David Ashman, our Client Care Director, and within three days he will send you a letter acknowledging your complaint. You will be informed about how long it will take to reply in detail to the matters you have raised. You may be asked to confirm or explain your complaint in more detail.
- We will record your complaint in our central register and open a separate file for your complaint.
- Your complaint will then be investigated thoroughly. Your file will be considered, and the member of staff who acted for you may be spoken to by David Ashman or such other person nominated by him to investigate matters.
- You will then be sent a detailed reply to your complaint including our suggestions for resolving the matter.
- At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, you can contact us again and ask us to review our decision. This will be done by another Director of the firm reviewing the decision within two weeks.
- We will let you know the result of the review within a week of the review being completed. At this time, we will write to you confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons.
- If you are still not satisfied with our handling of your complaint, or if we have not resolved it within eight weeks, you can ask the Legal Ombudsman (see below) to consider the complaint. We would hope that this does not become necessary and that we can resolve matters between ourselves.
- Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint and within the following timescales:
a) Six years from the date of the act or omission about which you are complaining occurring, or
b) Three years from the date you should reasonably have known there were grounds for complaint.
- If we have to change any of the above timescales, we will let you know and explain why.
Complaints about your bill
The above complaints procedure also applies to complaints arising concerning our bill. There may also be a 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; and that if all, or part, of a bill remains unpaid, the Practice may be entitled to charge interest.
Raising concerns with our regulator
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) can help you if you are concerned about our 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. You can find information about raising your concerns with the SRA at www.sra.org.uk in the ‘For the public’ section.
Alternative dispute resolution
Alternative complaints bodies exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm consent to use such a scheme. In the event that you wish to use an alternative complaint body you should advise us accordingly.