Complaints Procedure

We want to give you the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service we have provided, then you should inform us immediately so that we can do our best to resolve the problem.

In the first instance it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your case or matter to discuss your concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues as this stage. If you would like to make a formal complaint, then you can read our full complaints procedure, see below. Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case or matter.

Complaints or Concerns

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 of service.

What happens if you are dissatisfied with the service you have received?

If you are not happy with the service you have received, please raise this first with the member of staff concerned or, if you do not feel able to discuss this with him or her, the person responsible for overall supervision of the work. If you are a client (or their representative), he or she will have been named in the client care letter we sent you at the outset of the work.

If you do not feel able to speak to either of these people, or you are not satisfied with their response, you should make a formal complaint by contacting our Client Care Officer Julian Maitland-Walker by e-mail to Julian.Maitland-Walker@maitlandwalker.com or alternatively Stuart Ashley by e-mail to Stuart.Ashley@maitlandwalker.com, setting out full details of your concerns, or the issues you have. If you are unable to raise any concerns in writing, please telephone Julian or Stuart on 01643 707777.

Internal Investigation

Your formal complaint will be investigated in accordance with the procedure set out below.

  1. We will send you a letter acknowledging your complaint and asking you to confirm or explain the details set out. You can expect to receive our letter within two days of us receiving your complaint.
  2. We will record your complaint in our central register and open a file for your complaint. We will do this within a day of receiving your complaint.
  3. We will acknowledge your reply to our acknowledgement letter and confirm what will happen next. You can expect to hear from us within three days of your reply.
  4. We will then start to investigate your complaint. This may involve one or more of the following steps:
    • We may ask the person who acted for you to reply to your complaint within five days;
    • We may examine the reply and the information in your complaint file. We may then ask the person who acted for you for more information. This will take up to three days from receiving the reply and the file.
  5. We will invite you to meet our Client Care Officer or Stuart Ashley to discuss and, it is hoped, resolve your complaint. We will do this within three days of receiving all the details we need from the member of staff who acted for you.
  6. Within two days of the meeting we will write to you to confirm what took place and any suggestions we have agreed with you.
  7. If you do not want a meeting or it is not possible, we will send you a detailed reply to your complaint. This will include our suggestions for resolving the matter. This will happen within five days of us completing the investigation.
  8. At this stage, if you are still not satisfied you can write to us again. We will then arrange to review our decision. This will happen with the support of the Legal Ombudsman, see below.
  9. If you remain unsatisfied with the outcome of the investigation by our Client Care Officer or Stuart Ashley you have the right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman, see below.

Who Can Complain?

Most complaints are likely to come from clients. However, others, including beneficiaries, third parties, other professionals and suppliers, may also complain to us.

Will I Be Charged?

You will not be charged for the investigation of your complaint.

What Resolution Can I Expect?

If we find evidence of poor service we will seek to provide an appropriate remedy. This might include:

  • An apology;
  • Compensation for loss suffered;
  • Compensation for inconvenience, distress or both;
  • Putting things right;
  • Reducing the bill or limiting fees.

If we find that there has been no poor service we will fully explain why we have come to this conclusion.

Legal Ombudsman

The Legal Ombudsman (LeO) can investigate complaints from members of the public and very small businesses, charities, clubs and trusts.

The LeO will accept complaints about service issues where:

  • You have made a complaint and received a final response in the last six months, and
  • The issue you wish to complain about happened on, or after, the 6 October 2010* or if the issue happened before 6 October 2010, you only became aware of it on or after 6 October 2010.

* The formal rules state that either the issue must have occurred in the last six years or the date of awareness must be within the last three years. However, the time limits will be extended gradually from 6 October 2010, the date the Legal Ombudsman opened for business.

Full details of the LeO Scheme can be obtained from:

Legal Ombudsman
PO Box 6806
Wolverhampton
WV1 9WJ

Tel: 0300 555 0333

www.legalombudsman.org.uk

Alternative complaints bodies such as ProMediate exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority can also help you if you are concerned about our behaviour. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic. You can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.