What to do if you are unhappy with the service or advice you have received
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.
What is a Complaint?
A complaint is defined by the Legal Ombudsman as an expression of dissatisfaction with a service.
If you have any concern or reason to be unhappy with the service provided by our firm or a bill that we have rendered, or both, the following steps are open to you.
The first step should always be to speak to or write to the solicitor handling your matter and explain the cause of your dissatisfaction. The vast majority of problems can usually be resolved at this stage on an amicable basis.
Step 2: Making a formal complaint
If the situation has not been resolved to your satisfaction the next more formal approach is to raise the issue with our Complaints Partner, Simon Gowler.
If at all possible please put your complaint in writing, explaining the circumstances and the reasons for your dissatisfaction. We will acknowledge this letter within 3 working days of its receipt. Mr Gowler may deal with the matter himself or ask one of the Partners to do so but the acknowledgement letter will clearly tell you who is dealing with the matter.
Mr Gowler, or the Partner in charge, will ensure that the issue is fully investigated. The investigation will include studying the relevant file, speaking to the solicitor concerned and asking for any other relevant details from you. It may also require a personal meeting with you.
If you do agree to a meeting, then within 3 days after the meeting, we will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions that were agreed with you. If you do not want a meeting or it is not possible we will send you a detailed written reply to your complaint including suggestions for resolving the matter within 21 days of sending you the original acknowledgment letter.
We hope to have amicably resolved matters by this stage. However, if you remain dissatisfied you should contact us again and we will arrange for another partner, unconnected with the matter, to review the decision. If this is the case you will receive a further report within 14 days of your appeal.
At the conclusion of these investigations, the findings will be communicated to you in writing and it is hoped that a resolution will be possible which will both deal with the issues raised by you whilst at the same time preserving the goodwill between yourself and the firm.
We hope that we will have been able to resolve your complaint to your satisfaction. However, if you remain unhappy with our response then you can refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. They investigate complaints about poor service provided by lawyers.
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. If you wish to refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman this should be done within six months of your receiving copies of our final investigations.
Please visit www.legalombudsman.org.uk for further information.
You can contact the Legal Ombudsman at:
The Legal Ombudsman, P.O Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
Telephone: 0300 555 0333 between 8:30am and 5:30pm
Please do not send original documents to the Legal Ombudsman. They will scan any documents you send to make computer copies and then they will destroy the originals.
Alternative complaints bodies (such as ProMediate www.promediate.co.uk) exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme.
Some local Law Societies offer a complaints resolution service in an effort to resolve matters between a locally based client and a member firm before the matter is referred to the Legal Ombudsman. Macclesfield Law Society do not formally offer such a service but do endeavour to assist if required. Such intervention may be speedier than a referral to the Legal Ombudsman and it is something that you may wish to consider. We must stress however that this is optional and in any event you should bear in mind the deadline for referring a matter to the Legal Ombudsman.
If you do wish Macclesfield Law Society to assist you should contact the secretary whose details can be found on their website www.macclesfieldlawsociety.org.uk
Please do not hesitate to contact the Complaints Partner, Simon Gowler if you have any questions about this procedure. He can be contacted on 01625 614 250 or firstname.lastname@example.org . We hope that the need to use this procedure does not arise. But if it does, please be reassured that your matter will be dealt with objectively, quickly and with the utmost courtesy.