LAW BY DESIGN COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE
We are committed to ensuring that we afford our clients a quality service and one that satisfies all of their requirements. However, it is a fact of life that sometimes, despite best efforts, and for a number of different reasons, we may not be able to achieve this.
Our Complaints Procedure is designed to help you bring your dissatisfaction to our attention (hopefully at the earliest possible opportunity) so we can investigate your concerns and aim to resolve them to your satisfaction.
You will not be charged for the work involved in investigating a complaint made by you.
Details of the Complaints Procedure are set out below:
Who to contact
- Initially you should try to resolve your issue with the individual with conduct of your matter. We recognise that this is not always possible (for example where the individual concerned is the cause of the complaint) in which case you should refer your complaint to our Complaints Manager, Sue Morrison, who is a Solicitor and holds the position of Managing Director in Law by Design Limited.
- In order for us to investigate your issues on a fully informed basis we request that you state the nature of your complaint as fully as possible and in writing. We will acknowledge your complaint within 2 working days of its receipt by us (if received on a normal working day) or within 2 working days of the first working day received by us.
- We will then investigate and endeavour to respond to you within 14 working days thereafter but if we need more information from you or the nature of the complaint is complex we may write to you explaining why it will take longer for a response to be given. In this case we will advise you of an alternative time table.
- If our Complaints Manager is unable to resolve your complaint you are entitled to contact the Legal Ombudsman.
- You can also contact the Legal Ombudsman if 8 weeks have passed since you first made your complaint and your complaint remains unresolved.
How to make contact
- Complaints can be made by telephone, letter, and e-mail and addressed in writing to the Complaints Manager indicated above. In the event (for whatever reason) you will have difficulties making your complaint in writing, please contact our Complaints Manager to discuss how we can assist you with the process.
- Our Complaints Manager’s contact details are:
Ms Sue Morrison Law by Design Limited Kingsley Hall 20 Bailey Lane Manchester Airport Manchester M90 4AB e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Direct Dial: 0161 498 1920
- The Legal Ombudsman’s contact details are:
The Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806,
Telephone 0300 555 0333
When to make contact
- You should contact us as soon as you have a concern about an issue.
- You should not normally contact the Legal Ombudsman until we have attempted to resolve your complaint through our internal procedure or until 8 weeks have passed since the date when you first made your complaint. We do not however wish to discourage you from contacting the Legal Ombudsman for further information and advice should you wish to do so.
- The Legal Ombudsman asks that you contact them within 6 months of your last contact with us, failing which the Ombudsman may be unable to deal with your complaint.
- The Legal Ombudsman will not accept complaints where the matter complained of or your date of awareness of the matter was before 6 October 2010. Subject to that the Legal Ombudsman will accept complaints in respect of matters which occurred up to 6 years ago, although that 6 year period is reduced by 3 years from any date when you should have known about the matter.
- If a complaint is made to our Complaints Manager she will:
- acknowledge your complaint within 2 working days
- provide a substantive response to your complaint within 14 working days
- If we have to change any of these timescales we will let you know and explain why.
- If you complain to the Legal Ombudsman they will contact you with their timescale for resolving your complaint.
How we deal with your complaint
- If your complaint can be resolved by the individual with conduct of your matter and this is a relatively straight forward complaint it may be dealt with by telephone but the outcome will be confirmed to you in writing.
- If your matter has to be referred by you to the Complaints Manager then she will request in normal circumstances that the complaint be put in writing and it will be responded to (wherever possible) within the time scales indicated above.
- Complaints made to our Complaints Manager will normally be dealt with in writing.
- An investigation into your complaint will involve a thorough consideration of your letter of complaint and, where necessary, a detailed inspection of your paper and/or electronic file. We may call you or write to you for clarification of any issues and will certainly discuss your complaint with the person who is the subject of your complaint (and anyone else who may have been involved in the matter which is the subject of your complaint).
- Our Complaints Manager will write to you with a detailed response to your complaint. This will include any proposals for resolution of your complaint.
- Once our Complaints Manager has written to you in an attempt to resolve your complaint you can if you wish contact her to discuss matters further.
- If you are unhappy with our proposals to resolve your complaint (or if 8 weeks have elapsed since you made your complaint) you can at this stage contact the Legal Ombudsman. Remember to do so within 6 months of your last contact with us.
Complaints to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)
The SRA will not deal with complaints about poor service; delayed or poor communication; problems with fees or loss of documents. These are matters for the Legal Services Ombudsman who can:
- order the lawyer or firm to apologise,
- order the lawyer or firm to refund all or part of your fees
- order the lawyer or firm to return your documents, and
- pay compensation if you have lost out due to poor service.
The Ombudsman is trained to recognise matters of dishonesty and breaches of the Principles to which all regulated solicitors and their firms must adhere and has a memorandum of understanding with the SRA to report such cases to them for investigation.
However, you should report your concerns directly to the SRA if you think a firm or anyone regulated in it has breached an SRA Principle (including allegations of dishonesty; breaches of integrity; discrimination).
The SRA can be contacted on www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor.page or calling them on 0330 555 0333.