If you wish to complain about us:
Definition of a complaint
We aim to offer all clients an efficient and effective service but should there be any aspect of our service with which you are unhappy and which you cannot resolve between yourself and the person dealing with your case then you can make a complaint to the Compliance Officer Legal Practice (COLP), Mr Robin Townsend.
The Practice defines a complaint as: “an oral or written expression of dissatisfaction from an eligible complainant which alleges that the complainant has suffered (or may suffer) financial loss, distress, inconvenience or other detriment.”
You should contact Mr Robin Townsend on 023 9281 9442 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to Saulet Townsend Limited, Froddington House, Cumberland Business Centre, Northumberland Road, Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 1DS.
What happens next?
- The Practice will acknowledge the receipt of the complaint in writing within five days of receiving the complaint enclosing a copy of this procedure.
- The complaint will be investigated at the highest level within the Practice. This will normally involve passing the complaint to Robin Townsend, (COLP) who will review the file and speak to the member of staff who acted for the Client.
- The COLP will then invite the Client to a meeting to discuss and, hopefully, resolve the complaint. This will be done within fourteen days of sending the acknowledgement letter.
- Within three days of the meeting the COLP will write to confirm what took place and any solutions he/she has agreed with the Client.
- If the Client declines a meeting, or a meeting is not possible the COLP will send a detailed written reply regarding the complaint including his/her suggestions for resolving the matter. This will take place within twenty-one days of sending the acknowledgement letter.
- At this stage if the Client is still not satisfied the Client should contact the Practice to explain their dissatisfaction with the Practice’s response, these comments will then be reviewed. Depending on the matter, the Practice may at this stage arrange for another Director to review the decision.
- The Practice will write to the Client within fourteen days of receiving their request for a review confirming the Practice’s final position on the complaint and explaining their reasons.
You are entitled to make a complaint to your fee earner regarding an interim bill or a final bill or any matter relating to the billing process.
You may also have a right to object to a bill by applying to the Court for an assessment of the bill under Part 3 of the Solicitors Act 1974.
If all or part of a bill remains unpaid the practice will be entitled to charge interest.
If you are not satisfied with the outcome, you may complain to the Legal Ombudsman:
You have a right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman at the conclusion of our complaint process, if you are not satisfied with the outcome. You have six months in which to contact the Legal Ombudsman at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ, telephone 0300 555 033, email email@example.com.
If wish to complain to the SRA about a breach of Principles:
If the Legal Ombudsman thinks your case involves a breach of the SRA Principles, they will refer your case to the SRA. Likewise, if you report a solicitor to us for poor service, we will refer you to the Legal Ombudsman; read our Memorandum of understanding (PDF 5 pages, 143K) for more information on this arrangement. The SRA do not have the power to award compensation for poor service, or to reduce or refund your legal fees.
However, you should report the matter directly to the SRA if you think a firm or anyone regulated by them has breached a SRA Principle.
You can also report a firm or someone regulated by the SRA for non-payment of professional fees (such as agent or expert fees) if
- you have a County Court judgment in respect of the fee, and
- the judgment relates to the practice in connection with providing a legal service.
There are some issues the SRA does not investigate. However, they always consider allegations of dishonesty or discrimination.
If the SRA have closed a firm and you believe that the firm owes you money, you may be able to make a claim from the SRA Compensation Fund.