Complaints Procedure

Our Complaints Policy

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

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (at The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham B1 1RN or report@sra.org.uk) can help 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.

If you are unhappy with the work which we carried out for you or the manner in which it was dealt with, or about the fees charged, you are required to follow this Complaints Procedure and then, if you remain dissatisfied, it is open to you to refer the matter to the Legal Ombudsman at PO Box 15870 Birmingham B30 9EB (tel: 0300 555 0333 or email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk).

Our Complaints Procedure

In the first instance, we would encourage you to speak either to the member of staff dealing with your matter or the relevant Team Leader. It is to be hoped that this will lead to whatever problem you might have being resolved swiftly.

However, if you wish to take the matter further, please contact Paul McGrath, our Client Care Partner. He can be reached at Oak House, Northgate Street, Ipswich IP1 3BX (Tel : 01473 255591).

If you are happy for your complaint to be treated informally initially, Mr McGrath will attempt either to resolve the matter himself or ask the relevant fee earner to contact you. (This approach will probably apply where the difficulty you are experiencing is not too significant eg where there is a short delay in a letter being sent to you, or the like).

However, if it is felt that a more formal approach is required, or the informal approach does not resolve the situation to your satisfaction, then we shall treat your complaint as a formal one. We may sometimes need to ask you to confirm or explain the details of your complaint in writing to us, as this will help to avoid misunderstandings as to the concerns you have and will also help us to investigate the compliant more efficiently.

What will happen next?

1. Within 5 days of Mr McGrath receiving your formal complaint, we will record your complaint in our central register and open a file for it.

2. At the same time, we will send you a letter acknowledging your complaint. We will also let you know the name of the person who will be dealing with your complaint.

3. We will then start to investigate your complaint. This may involve one or more of the following steps. We may need to ask the member of staff who acted for you to comment on your complaint (which may take up to 2 weeks). We will then examine their reply and the information in our file. We may need to ask them for more information. This may take a further 4 weeks from receiving their reply and the file. We should then be able to form a view about your complaint and how best to proceed.

4. If appropriate, we will then invite you to meet the person dealing with the complaint to discuss and hopefully resolve your complaint. We will do this within three weeks of receiving your Complaint (and having obtained all the details we need from the member of staff who acted for you).

5. Within five days of any such meeting, we will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions we have agreed with you.

6. If you do not want a meeting, or it is not appropriate or possible, we will send you a detailed reply to your complaint. This will include our suggestions for resolving the matter. This will happen within three weeks of us receiving your complaint.

7. At this stage, we trust that matters will have been resolved to your satisfaction. However, if you are still not satisfied, we operate a review procedure. To activate this, you must write to us within 10 days of receiving our letter, setting out why you remain dissatisfied. The person who dealt with the complaint originally will review his own decision in light of any comments or observations from you and contact you again within five days.

8. If you still remain dissatisfied, you can again write in (provided you do so within 10 days of confirmation of our decision following review) with any additional comments. If appropriate, we shall arrange for another Partner in the Firm who has not previously been involved in your complaint to review it. Within a further 10 days, that Partner will then write to you. (Alternatively, if appropriate, he will meet with you within that period and then write to you within five days of such meeting).

9. In our final letter, we will confirm our position on your complaint and explain our reasons. If you remain dissatisfied, you are entitled to complain to the Legal Ombudsman. This can be done if we do not resolve the complaint to your satisfaction within 8 weeks (even if we are then still continuing to investigate it) but, in any event, you should contact the Ombudsman within 6 months of your last contact with us.

Please note that the above reference to “days” means “working days”. However, it might not always be possible for us to meet the above timetable. If we have to change any of the time scales above, we will let you know and explain why.

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) bodies 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.

We will not charge you for handling your complaint. The Legal Ombudsman service is free of charge.

PVM 11.01.19

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