Making a complaint
If for any reason at any time, you are not satisfied with the service being provided to you or you have a complaint about the firm’s invoice, you should in the first instance, immediately contact the partner/consultant supervising your file and we will try to resolve any issues you may have.
If you are not satisfied with the responses received from the person named in the previous paragraph, you may refer your complaint to Shak Inayat, Principal Solicitor at Penn Chambers Solicitors whose direct telephone number is 0207 183 2898 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr Inayat is responsible for ensuring that complaints are handled effectively and in accordance with this procedure. This procedure will also apply to prospective clients whom we have refused to provide a service to or persistently or unreasonably offered an unwanted service to but only if the complainant has evidence to show that we did not have reasonable grounds to do so.
We keep a file / register of all complaints. The register/file include all the required details and the register is signed off when the complaint has been finalised.
Investigating the complaint
We will acknowledge the complaint within seven days.
We will conduct a full investigation and an independent review of the matter.
We aim to respond in full within 28 days. However, if the complaint is of a more complex nature we will require more time but we will let the complainant know when they will receive a full response.
We will reply to the complainant, usually in writing to tell him/her of our views on the complaint and how we propose to resolve it, hopefully to the complainant’s satisfaction, including appropriate redress, this could include a reduction in fees if appropriate, compensation of a gesture of goodwill. The client will also be advised in what timescale they will be given an initial/ substantive response.
If the complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome, or the way the complaint has been handled, the complainant may write to Mr Inayat who will make such further investigations as are necessary.
Mr Inayat will inform the complainant of the conclusions and any alternative proposals to resolve the complaint, usually within 28 days of this being referred to him/her.
If still unresolved at this stage, the complainant may take their complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. The complainant will have to bring the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within 6 months of receiving a final response from us about the complaint and 6 years from the date of the act or omission giving rise to the complaint or alternatively 3 years from the date the complainant should reasonably have known there are grounds for complaint (if the act/omission took place before 6 October 2010 or was more than 6 years ago).
We will record and report centrally all complaints received.
We will identify the cause of any problems of which the client has complained offering appropriate redress and correcting any unsatisfactory procedures.
The guidelines issued by the Legal Ombudsman state that you should allow Carter Bond Solicitors at least eight weeks to resolve your complaint. If you have not done so within those eight weeks, you may approach the Legal Ombudsman but you have only 6 months from your last contact with us in which to contact him.
If we are unable to resolve your complaint, and it relates to a contract we entered into online or by other electronic means, you may also be able to submit your complaint to a certified alternative dispute resolution (ADR) provider in the UK via the EU ODR platform.
The ODR platform is an interactive website offering a single point of entry for disputes between consumers and traders relating to online contracts. The ODR platform is available to consumer clients only, ie where you have instructed us for purposes outside your trade, business, craft or profession.
The website address for the ODR platform is: http://ec.europa.eu/odr.
The Legal Ombudsman is an independent body established by the Legal Services Act 2007 to deal with complaints against Solicitors.
The Legal Ombudsman deals with complaints by consumers and very small businesses. This means some clients may not have the right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman, e.g. charities or clubs with an annual income of more than £1m, trustees of trusts with asset value of more than £1m and most businesses (unless they are defined as micro-enterprises). This does not prevent you from making a complaint directly to us about the service you have received or about the bill.
The Legal Ombudsman may:
Investigate the quality of professional service supplied by a solicitor to a client.
Investigate allegations that a solicitor has breached rules of professional conduct.
Investigate allegations that a solicitor has unreasonably refused to supply a professional service to a prospective client.
Investigate allegations that a solicitor has persistently or unreasonably offered a professional service that the client does not want.
Before it will consider a complaint the Legal Ombudsman generally requires that the firm’s internal complaints procedure has been exhausted. If the Legal Ombudsman is satisfied that the firm’s proposals for resolving a complaint are reasonable, it may decline to investigate further.
The Legal Ombudsman’s contact details are:
Address: PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
Telephone: 0300 555 0333