How to complain
If you have a complaint about us please send it to us in writing. We will then start to investigate your complaint. This will normally involve the following steps:
- We will pass your complaint to Lambros Lambrou, our Complaints Handling Partner, within 3 days.
- He will ask the member of staff who acted for you to reply to your complaint within 5 days.
- He will then examine the reply and the information in your complaint file. If necessary, he may also speak to them. This will take up to 3 days from receiving the reply and the file.
- Mr Lambrou may then invite you to meet or speak to them and discuss and, we hope, resolve your complaint. He will do this within 3 days.
- Within 2 days Mr Lambrou will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions he has agreed with you or will send you a detailed reply to your complaint. This will include his suggestions for resolving the matter. He will do this within 5 days of completing his investigation.
- At this stage, if you are still not satisfied you can write to us again. We will then arrange to review our decision.
- We will let you know the result of the review within 5 days of the end of the review. At this time we will write to you confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons. We will also give you details of the Legal Ombudsman.
- If you are still not satisfied or a period of 8 weeks has elapsed, you can contact the Legal Ombudsman about your complaint. This must be done within 6 months of our final response to your complaint. The Legal Ombudsman can investigate complaints up to six years from the date of the problem happening or within three years of when you found out about the problem. Their contact details are PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ, 0300 555 0333, email@example.com www.legalombudsman.org.uk. Not all client’s are eligible to resort to the Legal Ombudsman, full details appear in our Complaints Policy which is available on request.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help you if you are concerned about our behaviour. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or
treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic.
You can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
The Legal Ombudsman will not look at all complaints. The following encompasses the rules under which the Legal Ombudsman operates:
Who can complain to the Legal Ombudsman
A complainant must be an individual; or
- an enterprise which, at the time at which the complainant refers the complaint to the respondent, is a micro-enterprise within the meaning of Article 1 and Article 2(1) and (3) of the Annex to Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC, as that Recommendation had effect at the date it was adopted (i.e. businesses with 10 staff or less and with a turnover of €2 million or less);
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- a personal representative of an estate of a person; or
- a beneficiary of an estate of a person.
For (e) and (f) the condition is that the services to which the complaint relates were provided by the respondent to a person –
- who has subsequently died; and
- who had not by his or her death referred the complaint to the ombudsman scheme.
If a complainant who has referred a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman dies or is otherwise unable to act, the complaint can be continued by:
- anyone authorised by law (for example: the executor of a complainant who has died or someone with a lasting power of attorney from a complainant who is incapable);
- the residuary beneficiaries of the estate of a complainant who has died.
A complainant must not have been, at the time of the act/omission to which the complaint relates:
- a public body (or acting for a public body) in relation to the services complained about; or
- an authorised person who procured the services complained about on behalf of someone else (For example, where the complaint is about a barrister who was instructed by a solicitor on behalf of a consumer, the consumer can complain to the ombudsman but the solicitor cannot.)
A complainant can authorise someone else in writing (including an authorised person) to act for the complainant in pursuing a complaint, but the Legal Ombudsman remains free to contact the complainant direct where it considers that appropriate.
What they can complain about to the Legal Ombudsman
The complaint must relate to an act/omission by someone who was an authorised person at that time but:
- an act/omission by an employee is usually treated also as an act/ omission by their employer, whether or not the employer knew or approved;and
- an act/omission by a partner is usually treated also as an act/ omission by the partnership, unless the complainant knew (at the time of the act/omission) that the partner had no authority to act for the partnership.
The act/omission does not have to:
- relate to a reserved legal activity; nor
- be after the Act came into force (but see the time limits in chapter four).
The complaint must relate to services which the authorised person provided:
- to the complainant; or
- to another authorised person who procured them on behalf of the complainant; or
- to (or as) a personal representative/trustee where the complainant is a beneficiary of the estate/trust.
A complaint is not affected by any change in the membership of a partnership or other unincorporated body.
Where authorised person A ceases to exist and B succeeds to the whole (or substantially the whole) of A’s business:
- acts/omissions by A become acts/omissions of B; and
- complaints already outstanding against A become complaints against B.
Changes to the Legal Ombudsman’s Scheme Rules
The following changes will be put in place from 1 February 2013:
- The Legal Ombudsman’s time limits for accepting a complaint will increase to six years from the date of act/omission, or three years from when the complainant should have known about the complaint. This new limit will be introduced gradually and they will not accept complaints where the act or date of awareness go beyond 6 October 2010.
- The Legal Ombudsman’s financial limits will increase from £30,000 to £50,000.
- The Legal Ombudsman will accept complaints from prospective customers who could reasonably have expected to receive a service or were unreasonably offered a service they did not want.
If for any reason we are unable to resolve the problem between us, further complaints and redress mechanisms are provided through the SRA and the Legal Ombudsman as stated above.
Our email address for the purposes of receiving complaints is: firstname.lastname@example.org.