Complaints Procedure

TV Edwards Complaints Policy

 

We aim to provide a high quality legal service to our clients.  When something goes wrong, we need to know about it so that we can put things right and improve our standards.

The procedure outlined below also helps us to identify and address any systemic failings or areas of bad practice. Where appropriate, we will apologise and in some cases offer recompense to those who complain.

A copy of this policy is to be made available to clients on request and will feature on the firm’s web site.

Concerns and Formal Complaints

Concerns

There are occasions where clients express concerns which can quite properly be dealt with swiftly and resolved informally by the Supervisor of the staff member with conduct of the matter.

Supervisors will make a judgement as to whether they are able to swiftly and informally deal with the issue to the client’s satisfaction.

If a Supervisor considers that the issue amounts to a Formal Complaint then they should immediately refer the matter to the Complaints Handler.

Guidance for Supervisors on whether an issue amounts to a Concern or a Formal Complaint is available in the firm’s office manual.  In case of doubt, the Supervisor should seek the advice of the Complaints Handler. 

In order to deal with the Concern, it will usually be necessary for the Supervisor to undertake a brief investigation of the circumstances giving rise to the issue.  Any Concern must be dealt with swiftly and in any event within 10 working days.  A note of any communication pertaining to the concern should be recorded on the appropriate matter.

When seeking informally to resolve any Concern, Supervisors shall inform the client of the right to make a Formal Complaint to the Complaints Handler should they wish to do so.

Supervisors must immediately make their Head of Department aware of any Concern raised or of any matters that they have referred to the Complaints Handler.

Formal Complaints

If the Supervisor is unable to resolve the problem or considers that it amounts to a Formal Complaint then the matter shall be referred to the Complaints Handler –Jacky Starling.

Role of the Complaints Handler

The Complaints Handler will deal with the Formal Complaint, promptly, fairly, openly and effectively. 

The Complaints Handler will:

1. Confirm the client’s preferred method of communication and help them understand the process.  Although it does assist if the complaint is put in writing, clients can communicate with the Complaints Handler in any way they wish.

2. Acknowledge receipt of any Formal Complaint within 5 working days.

3. Normally provide a substantive response within 15 working days.  If more time is required then the client will be informed of the reasons for this.
 

In order to provide the substantive response, the Complaints Handler will:

4. Embark upon an investigation of the circumstances of the case by undertaking a fact finding exercise being impartial, open, transparent and proportionate to the seriousness of the complaint.

5. Establish where possible what the complainant wants as an outcome.

6. Identify the cause of the problem and offer any appropriate redress and correct any unsatisfactory procedures.

7. Inform the client at the conclusion of the investigation of their right to take the matter to the Legal Ombudsman should they wish to do so and provide their contact details.

8. Report to the relevant Head of Department on the nature and circumstances of the Complaint.
 

Complaints Register

The Complaints Handler will keep a central record of complaints which will contain details of the:

1. Date of receipt

2. Origins of complaint

3. Cause and nature of the complaint

4. Identity of the individuals concerned

5. An assessment  of  whether the complaint is justified or not

6. Action taken, remedies offered and any systemic failures identified.

The register will be reviewed annually by the Partnership to verify that the Complaints Policy is in effective operation across the practice.

 

The Legal Ombudsman

If we are unable to satisfactorily resolve the Formal Complaint then the client will be informed of their right to take the matter to the Legal Ombudsman. Before a client approaches the Ombudsman, they must usually have already made a Formal Complaint to us.

The Legal Ombudsman will not normally consider a complaint unless:

1. It is made within 6 months of the client receiving a final response from us; and

2.I t is made in relation to an act or omission that took place after 5 October 2010 (or the client should reasonably have known about the cause of complaint after that date); and

3. It is made no later than 6 years from the date of the act or omission or 3 years from when the client should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.

A referral to the Legal Ombudsman is generally not available to the following clients:-

•              most businesses (unless they are defined as micro enterprises)

•              charities or clubs with an annual income of more £1m, or

•              trustees of trusts with asset value of more than £1m

 

Further guidance is available at: www.legalombudsman.org.uk

The Legal Ombudsman can be contacted by:

Telephone:        0300 555 0333

E-mail:                  enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

Post:                      PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ