Complaints Handling Procedure
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.
Is there a problem with the service you have received from us?
If you have any problem with the service provided or the bill please let us know as soon as possible. The sooner we hear of your problem the quicker we can respond.
First you should inform your Fee-Earner (the person who handled your file) of your problem. If you wish to involve the Supervisor, you may do so. The names of the Fee-Earner and the Supervisor are set out in our initial correspondence to you which you received with the Fee Estimate and Terms of Business.
A full discussion will then take place with the object of resolving the problem.
If your problem is not resolved your next course of action is to refer your continuing concerns to our Risk & Compliance Solicitor, either by calling our main Devizes office on 01380 722311 or by sending an email to [email protected]
However before doing so please first ensure that you have tried to resolve this problem as set out above.
Making a complaint is a serious matter and will be treated as such and so we ask you to be quite sure that you are indeed making a formal complaint.
Our Complaints Procedure
1: If you have not successfully resolved the matter as set out above, please contact our Risk and Compliance Solicitor, whose details are set out above, with information about your complaint. We have up to 8 weeks to consider and resolve your complaint after which you may refer the matter to the Legal Ombudsman – see item 8 below.
2: We will contact you within 3 working days to acknowledge receipt of your complaint and if not already provided, asking you to let us have full details of the complaint. In our response we will provide you a copy of this Complaints Procedure if you have not already received one.
3: Your complaint will be recorded in our central register.
4: The investigation will normally be conducted by our Risk & Compliance Solicitor who has up to 15 working days within which to investigate. This allows time to retrieve the file (which may be stored in a warehouse away from our offices), liaise with the Fee-Earner (if possible) who acted for you. It also allows time for an internal meeting where necessary.
5: Having carried out a full internal investigation into the matter our Risk & Compliance Solicitor will then provide a substantive reply to your complaint. It may also be helpful to arrange a meeting at one of our offices to talk it all through. If a meeting takes place the Risk & Compliance Solicitor will then write to you afterwards to confirm what took place and any solutions she has agreed with you.
6: If your complaint is upheld we will acknowledge this and explain what we think is an appropriate remedy which may be financial or non-financial.
7: We will always do our best to adhere to the timescales above and we will let you know and explain why, if there is a delay (for example at holiday times or due to sickness).
8: If you are still not satisfied that your complaint has been resolved to your satisfaction, you are then entitled to contact the Legal Ombudsman in order to take the matter further. Contact details are:
The Legal Ombudsman, P O Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ.
Telephone : 0300 555 0333
Email: [email protected]
Please be aware that you are entitled to contact the Legal Ombudsman at any time. However, the Legal Ombudsman would normally expect you to have exhausted our complaints procedure first.
Any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within 6 months of our final written response on your complaint. Please be aware that there are specific timeframes within which the Legal Ombudsman can accept a complaint. No charge is payable by you for this service.
The above procedure complies with the former SRA Code of Conduct 2011 Chapter 1 – Client Care and the SRA Standards and Regulations 2019, Code of Conduct for Solicitors at paras.8.2-8.5 as well as Rule 2 of the SRA Transparency Rules. Under LEXCEL, Awdry Bailey & Douglas operate the Law Society’s Practice Management Standards (6 - Client Care).
9: We are also required to inform you that alternative complaints bodies such as Ombudsman Services or Promediate exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme as a result of the findings of our internal complaints process.
10: Finally, we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (“SRA”) and our registration number is 815122. If you have a complaint about our regulatory standards which we have been unable to resolve with you directly you may wish to contact the SRA directly by telephone on 0370 606 2555 or via their website which is www.sra.org.uk