828 Law Ltd – Client Complaints Procedure
1. What we consider as a “complaint”
Customer service is a fundamental part of what we do at 828 Law Ltd.
We strive to be as fair and transparent as possible when dealing with your complaints.
A complaint is defined for the purposes of this policy as any expression of your dissatisfaction, which alleges that you have suffered (or may suffer) financial loss, distress, inconvenience or other detriment with the services, care or facilities provided by 828 Law Ltd.
2. How we handle complaints
Any complaints are handled with the utmost care and we aim to:
Get it right,
Be client focused,
Be open and accountable,
To act fairly and proportionately,
To put things right,
Seek continuous improvement.
Every effort will be made to resolve complaints as they arise, particularly those involving relatively minor criticisms. Comments, queries, concerns and suggestions are not complaints but staff will endeavour to respond to these promptly and to give appropriate advice and information in order to prevent them escalating and becoming complaints.
This policy stipulates the mandatory arrangements for the investigation and resolution of complaints.
3. Time scales for responding
We ensure that the implementation of the policy will lead to:
complaints being acknowledged within 7 days;
complaints being investigated and responded to within 28 days providing detailed written response;
identify necessary service improvements arising from complaints and will implement change in relation to these.
4. Who investigates a complaint?
All staff have a responsibility to listen and respond to clients complaints, ensuring timely and effective resolution where appropriate.
Any complaint that is recorded verbally will be logged on our file of papers, separate to the client’s file of papers regarding any matter with us, by way of verbatim note, and a copy will be referred to the Principal Solicitor (Angela Bartley/Singleton) for review.
As Principal Solicitor of the firm, Angela Bartley/Singleton is responsible for signing off the complaint response. She has overall accountability for ensuring compliance and that appropriate action is taken at the conclusion of a complaint investigation.
She can be contacted:
By post: Angela Bartley/Singleton, 828 Law Ltd, 45 Berry Lane, Longridge, Preston PR3 3JP
By telephone: 01772 782399
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Internal complaint handling
Angela Bartley/Singleton is likely to initially address any issues you may have raised. She may telephone you to ensure she understands the issues better.
She will attempt to resolve any minor complaints immediately. If she cannot resolve the issue, you may be asked to put your complaint in writing in order that the complaint is clearly documented.
You will receive an acknowledgement of your formal written complaint within 7 days from its receipt by 828 Law Ltd.
Angela Bartley/Singleton will then investigate your complaint and respond to you within 28 days providing detailed written response.
We aim to provide all complainants with an honest, open response to the concerns they raise. It is common practice for complainants to be offered a consultation, in an attempt to resolve the issue amicably, if the same cannot be immediately resolved. Any consultations, whether verbal or in person, would be recorded in writing and written up, in order to document the same.
Where a complaint identifies a serious issue or incident within the firm, or you are not satisfied with our investigation or response, you may refer the complaint for external investigation.
6. Referral to the Legal Ombudsman
In the unfortunate event that we have not been able to resolve your complaint between us (to include billing issues) within 8 week period, you may contact the Legal Ombudsman:
By post: PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, West Midlands, WV1 9WJ
By telephone: Tel: 0300 555 0333
By email: email@example.com
The Legal Ombudsman will consider the complaint on your behalf.
7. Time Limits
The Legal Ombudsman’s objective is, in the first instance, to reconcile complaints and to assist clients and their solicitors to come to a mutual understanding. Referrals to the Legal Ombudsman should be made:
within 6 years from the date of act/omission, or;
3 years from when the complainant should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint (if the act took place more than 6 years ago), and;
within 6 months of the complainant receiving a final response from their lawyer.
If your complaint is about your bill, you may have a right to apply to the court for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.
If you wish to take advantage of this procedure, you should be aware that there are strict time limits applicable and you may therefore wish to seek independent legal advice:
Within a month from the date of our invoice your right to a detailed assessment is unconditional
If you delay beyond a month the Court may impose restrictions
Once a year has elapsed since the date of the invoice you will lose the right to a detailed assessment, unless there are special circumstances.
You should be aware that the Legal Ombudsman may not consider a complaint about a bill if you have applied to the court for such an assessment.
For further guidance about how to make a complaint, visit: http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk
8. Who may complain?
Who may complain:
A client, or;
Any person who is affected by or likely to be affected by the action, omission of decision of any member of staff at 828 Law Ltd.
A complaint may be made by a person acting on behalf of another person mentioned above in any case where that person:
Is a minor;
Is unable by reason of physical or mental incapacity to make the complaint themselves;
Has authorised the representative to act on his/her behalf.
It is preferable if the complaint is made by the person affected. However, if this is not possible, a complaint can also be made by someone who has been asked by the client to act on their behalf.
When a representative is complaining on behalf of our client, care must be taken by us to ensure that the client is aware of the complaint, has asked the representative to act on their behalf and has provided written consent for details of their case to be divulged to the third party, which may include confidential information. If the written consent is not included with the complaint, when acknowledging receipt, we will send a consent form requiring completion by our client. This form must be returned before the complaint investigation can commence. If consent is not received within 1 month of the request, we will consider withdrawing the complaint and will write to the complainant to confirm their decision.
In the case of a client or person affected who has died or who is incapable, the representative must be a relative or other person who, in our opinion, has or had sufficient interest in the client’s welfare and is a suitable person to act as representative. If we are of the opinion that a representative does not or did not have sufficient interest in the client’s welfare, or is unsuitable to act as a representative, we will notify that person in writing, stating the reasons for our decision.
We can handle complaints from an official solicitor that holds instruction to pursue such a matter in the event where the client lacks capacity to provide instructions.
In the case of a minor, the representative must be a parent, guardian or other adult with parental responsibility.
9. Complaints involving other service providers
In the event that a complaint involves another service provider, introduced to the complainant through 828 Law Ltd, we are required to ask for the complainant’s permission to copy in the relevant service provider to the complaint in order that they may formulate a formal response and so that the matter can to comprehensively dealt with without delay.