Paul Hillier, Director, is responsible for developing, monitoring, assessing and managing the complaints procedure.
The practice has adopted and adapted the Legal Ombudsman’s definition of a complaint, being an expression of dissatisfaction with a service relating to an act or omission about a service provided to:
- a complainant (including the client);
- another authorised person who procured the service on behalf of the complainant; or
- a personal representative/trustee where the complainant is a beneficiary of the trust/estate;
which cannot be immediately resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction by the fee earner and the matter supervisor.
At the outset of every matter clients will be informed:
(a) of their right to complain about either the service they have received, or a bill that has been rendered, or both;
(b) to whom they should complain;
(c) that the practice has a complaints procedure, a copy of which will be supplied to them upon their request, and in any case if they make a complaint.
When a complaint has been made, the recipients of a complaint will immediately inform their supervisor, or if they are self-supervising, they will inform Paul Hillier, Director.
Immediately upon receipt of the complaint, complainants will be informed in writing:
(a) how and by whom their complaint will be handled; and
(b) when they can expect either an initial or substantive response to their complaint.
This information is contained in the procedure document that is sent to the complainant.
The complaint will be recorded and held centrally by Paul Hillier, Director.
Paul Hillier will adhere to the procedure contained in the complaints document that is sent to the complainant. This is to ensure that:
(a) the complaint will be thoroughly investigated, using whatever means and enquiries [name] considers to be appropriate, with whomever [name] considers appropriate;
(b) the cause of the complaint is identified; any appropriate redress is offered to the client; and
(c) any process or procedure which, it is felt, contributed to the complaint and needs to be revised or amended in any way, will be amended as required.
Responsibility and Reviews
Paul Hillier will conduct the following reviews at least annually:
(a) A review of the complaints procedures, including that which is sent to clients, to ensure that they are being used effectively throughout the practice, following which any necessary amendments will be made.
(b) A review of all of the claims and complaints that have been received by the practice within the previous 12 months in order to:
(i) identify any causation trends;
(ii) make corrections to any processes or procedures that are considered necessary to assist in the prevention of future trend occurrences; and
(iii) compile a report from the findings for peer/external review if necessary.
Our 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.
Our Complaints Procedure
If you have a complaint about our service or a bill that we have rendered on or both, please contact us with the details.
The person to contact is Paul Hillier, and he can be reached at:
Winthorpe House, 29 Church End, Biddenham, Bedford MK40 4AR
t: 01234 860856
What will happen next?
- We will send you a letter acknowledging receipt of your complaint within 14 days of us receiving the complaint, enclosing a copy of this procedure.
- We will then investigate your complaint. This will normally involve passing your complaint to Paul Hillier who will review your file and speak to the member of staff who acted for you.
- Paul Hillier will then invite you to a meeting to discuss and hopefully resolve your complaint. This will be done within 14 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.
- Within 14 days of the meeting, Paul Hillier will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions he has agreed with you.
- If you do not want a meeting or it is not possible, Paul Hillier will send you a detailed written reply to your complaint, including his suggestions for resolving the matter, within 14 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.
- At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, you should contact us again and we will arrange for Paul Hillier to review his own decision and if necessary obtain a review by another local solicitor or mediation.
- We will write to you within 14 days of receiving your request for a review, confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons.
- If we have to change any of the timescales above, we will let you know and explain why.
- If you are still not satisfied, you can then contact the Legal Ombudsman at:
PO Box 6806
t: 0300 555 0333 or 0121 245 3050
There are time limits within which complaints must be made to the Legal Ombudsman, as indicated below. Generally speaking, your complaint should be made to the Ombudsman no later than 12 months from when the problem occurred or from when you should reasonably have become aware of the problem. Additionally, you should make your complaint to the Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final response from us following the complaint that you have made to us. Normally, your complaint needs to fall inside both rules if the Ombudsman is going to investigate it.
You also need to be aware that the Ombudsman only deals with complaints from the following:
(a) an enterprise which, at the time that the complaint is made, is a micro-enterprise within the meaning of arts.1, 2(1) and (3) of the Annex to Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC, as that Recommendation had effect at the date it was adopted;
(b) a charity with an annual income net of tax of less than £1 million at the time at which the complainant refers the complaint to the respondent;
(c) a club, association or organisation, the affairs of which are managed by its members or a committee or committees of its members, with an annual income net of tax of less than £1 million at the time at which the complainant refers the complaint to the respondent;
(d) a trustee of a trust with an asset value of less than £1 million at the time at which the complainant refers the complaint to the respondent;
(e) a personal representative of an estate of a person; or
(f) a beneficiary of an estate of a person