The Practice’s Complaints Manager is Mr Anuj Makol (“the Complaints Manager”). It is his responsibility to ensure that complaints are dealt with in accordance with the Complaints Handling Procedure.
The Practice has a procedure for dealing with complaints from clients. It tries to resolve as many as possible within the Practice to prevent complaints escalating to The Legal Ombudsman and to preserve the goodwill of the client; even when things have gone wrong.
The Practice acknowledges that some of the complaints about it will be well founded. Everyone makes mistakes and a lawyer should be honest and candid when a mistake has been made. Complaints must be dealt with sympathetically and quickly; the Practice’s reputation depends on this. No charges will ever be raised in connection with the handling of a complaint under this procedure.
The Complaints Manager will, once aware of a complaint, look objectively at the matter, and ask for full details from the client either in writing or by interview. The investigation into the matter by the Complaints Manager will usually include a review of the matter file, to include an inspection of the file, or at least a thorough consideration of relevant documents from it. The Complaints Manager will be mindful of any individual needs that the complainant might have, and will ensure that the manner in which the complaint is handled is sympathetic to those needs.
Once a complaint has been made, the person complaining will be told in writing how the complaint will be handled and in what time they will be given an initial response and that a substantive response will be given within 8 weeks. The whole object is to ensure that the client:-
(a) is satisfied that the complaint has been dealt with seriously
(b) gets a prompt response
(c) is assured that the matter is being reviewed
(d) is notified as soon as possible of the outcome.
Hopefully the client will be satisfied and the Practice will continue with the file. In some circumstances, if the solicitor/client relationship has broken down completely, it may be better for another Practice to take the file over.
There is a time period within which the Practice must resolve the complaint to the satisfaction of the client, usually 8 weeks. This is very important as the client has the right to refer the matter to The Legal Ombudsman (if they are not happy with the Practice’s response and/or the way that the complaint has been handled) usually within 6 months of the earlier of the expiry of that 8 week period or our definitive response within that 8 week period. There are exceptions and additional detail to these basic time limits and in fact not all clients are eligible to have recourse to the Legal Ombudsman.
The contact details of the Office of the Legal Ombudsman are as follows:-
Telephone: 0300 555 0333
Po Box 6806