Complaints Procedure

We are committed to providing a high-quality legal service to all our clients.  When something goes wrong, we need clients to tell us about it.  This will help us to improve our standards. 

Please be assured that your complaint will be dealt with promptly, fairly and free of charge.

The client care documentation provides that:

“During the course of the matter, if there is any aspect about which you are concerned or require clarification, then please raise it with the person who is handling the matter with a view to the matter being resolved quickly.  If you remain concerned or you and we could not agree an appropriate course of action, then please take it up with the Practice Manager Mrs Nicola Thomas or the Complaints Handler, Robert Wiliams, who would contact you, and attempt to resolve the matter to your satisfaction. ”.

To deal with your complaint correctly, it would be helpful when contacting us if you could provide the following information:

  • Your name, contact details and preferred contact method
  • File reference number
  • Details of your concerns
  • How you would like us to put things right.

If a complaint is received by the Practice Manager or Complaints Handler, then unless the complaint is promptly resolved to your satisfaction, the following procedure applies:

1.         Upon receiving the complaint, a letter acknowledging it will be sent to you within 7 calendar days (but hopefully within 3 working days)

2.         The complaint will be investigated.  This will normally involve passing the complaint to the Complaints Handler, Mr Robert Williams, [but if the complaint relates to Mr Robert Williams, it will be passed to Mr Richard Lloyd (COLP)], who will review the matter file and speak to the lawyer who acted for you.  It may be necessary for the investigator to ask you for further information either at the outset of the investigation or during the course of the investigation.  The further information may be provided in writing or may be provided in a meeting.  The investigator will consider any further information received from you.

3.         Within 8 weeks of receiving the complaint, a substantive response will be issued to you, setting out the investigator’s view of the matter, and any proposals.  Hopefully this will resolve the matter.  However, you may arrange to see Mr Robert Willliams [or, if the complaint relates to Mr Robert Williams, Mr Richard Lloyd].

4.         If a meeting takes place with you at any stage, within 14 days after the meeting a letter will be sent to you, confirming what took place and any solutions the investigator has agreed with you.

5.         If you are not satisfied with the decision, you must within 8 weeks of the decision inform the Firm of this and the Firm will then arrange to review the decision.  This will happen in one of the following ways:

(a)       Within 8 weeks, Mr Robert Williams [or Mr Richard Lloyd, as the case may be] will review the decision, or

(b)       Within 8 weeks we will arrange for another Partner or someone unconnected with the matter at the Firm to review it, or

(c)        Within 8 weeks we will ask our local Law Society or another local Firm of Solicitors to review the complaint (and, if so, you will be informed as to how long this process will take).

6.         If the review is carried out by Mr Robert Williams [or Mr Richard Lloyd] under 5(a), you will be informed of his/her decision within 8 weeks.  If the original decision is reviewed by another Partner or someone unconnected with the matter at the Firm under 5(b), you will be informed of his/her decision within  8 weeks.  In each case, this will set out the Firm’s final position on the complaint and an explanation of the reasons for the decision.

7.         If the Firm has to change any of the timescales above, you will be informed in writing and provided with an explanation

8.         If you are still not satisfied, you may contact the Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6167, Slough, SL1 0EH about the complaint. The Legal Ombudsman will look at the complaint independently and any investigation by them will not affect how we handle your case.

9.         Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check:

  • You have tried to resolve the complaint with us in the first instance and
  • You have suffered significant financial loss, distress, inconvenience or detriment, which deems it proportionate for them to investigate.

We will always be happy to discuss your issues further, prior to you going down this route if you wish to do so.

10.       For further information, you should contact the Legal Ombudsman on 0300 555 0333 or at enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk or by post – Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6167, Slough, SL1 0EH. 

11.       Any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within six months of the date of our final written response to your complaint.    You should also be aware that the Ombudsman will consider your complaint if you refer it on to them within either of the following:

  • One year from the date of the act or omission being complained about OR
  • One year from the date when you should reasonably have known that there was cause for complaint

The Ombudsman has discretion to extend the one year time limit for specific customers, if, on the evidence, it is fair and reasonable to do so.

12.       Note that the Legal Ombudsman service cannot be used by businesses or most other organisations, unless they are below certain size limits.   Further details are available from the Legal Ombudsman’s website.

13.      It is worth considering, whilst it is open to you to submit a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, they apply strict criteria to determine whether they will ultimately accept a complaint for a full investigation. They have the discretion to dismiss or discontinue all or part of a complaint if they believe:

a)     it does not have any reasonable prospects of success.

b)     you have not suffered (and are unlikely to suffer) significant financial loss, distress, inconvenience or detriment.

c)      it is frivolous, vexatious, lacks merit or where there is a compelling reason not to accept it.

d)     the likely impact, size, complexity, scope, volume of evidence or your conduct render it disproportionate/unreasonable/impossible for the complaint to be investigated.

e)     you have previously complained about the same issue to them, unless you provide material evidence that is likely to affect the outcome which only became available to you after you submitted the original complaint.

f)       there has been undue delay in the complaint being raised.

              Also note:

a)     If, during the course of an ongoing investigation by the Ombudsman, a revised/increased offer is made by us which is deemed to be fair and reasonable redress and you decide to reject that offer, the Ombudsman has the discretion to dismiss or discontinue all or part of your complaint.

b)     If you have already accepted an offer to settle your complaint made by us during our internal complaint handling process, which is deemed to be fair and reasonable redress, unless there has been some significant intervening act, you will not be able to have that agreement overturned in the hope of securing a preferential outcome by pursuing your complaint via the Ombudsman.

 For more information on the Legal Ombudsman’s rules and requirements, please see their Scheme Rules dated April 2023.