What to do if you are unhappy with the service or advice you have received
Jobling Gowler is committed to providing you with a high-quality legal service. 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. This can include a concern relating to the service provided, a bill rendered, or both.
If you have any concern or reason to be unhappy, 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 you can raise the matter more formally. You are invited to raise the issue with our Complaints Partner, Gill Peate.
Please put your complaint in writing, explaining the circumstances and the reasons for your dissatisfaction. This letter will be acknowledged within 3 working days of its receipt. Mrs Peate may deal with the matter herself or ask one of the Partners to do so but the acknowledgement letter will clearly tell you who is dealing with the matter.
Mrs Peate, 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.
Hopefully matters will have been amicably resolved 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.
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.
What to do if we cannot resolve your complaint
The Legal Ombudsman can help you if we are unable to resolve your complaint ourselves. They will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your case.
Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:
- Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint
- No more than six years from the date of act/omission; or
- No more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, please contact them directly.
Contact details for the Legal Ombudsman
Call: 0300 555 0333 between 9.00 to 17.00.
Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
What to do if you are unhappy with our behaviour
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) can help if you are concerned about our behaviour. The SRA deal with cases where firms or those we regulate have breached the SRA Principles. Unresolved complaints about poor service should be sent to the Legal Ombudsman as outlined above. If the Legal Ombudsman thinks your case involves a breach of SRA Principles, they will refer your case to the SRA.
However, you should report the matter directly to the SRA if you think a firm or anyone regulated by the SRA has breached an SRA Principle. Visit their website to see how you can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority. www.sra.org.uk
If you have any questions about this procedure and your rights under it, please do not hesitate to contact the Complaints Partner Gill Peate on 01625 614 250 or firstname.lastname@example.org . We hope that the need to use this procedure will not arise but if it does, please be assured that your matter will be dealt with objectively, quickly and with the utmost courtesy.