Our Complaints Policy
We are committed to delivering high quality professional services to all our clients. When something goes wrong, please tell us about it. This gives us the opportunity to investigate your concerns thoroughly. It also helps us to improve our service.
How to contact us
Letter: Risk and Best Practice Team, Gateway House, Tollgate, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, Hampshire SO53 3TG.
Telephone: 023 8071 8000
How to set out your concerns
- You can raise your concerns in writing (by email or letter), at a meeting or by telephone.
- Give example(s) of the problem, dates where possible and making a list of your queries or concerns will help us to reply.
- If you indicate that you require a meeting, but then fail to attend the appointment we will proceed with investigating your complaint.
- If you raise your concerns by telephone, we may ask you to put your concerns in writing to ensure that we fully understand the position.
What will happen next?
- We will send an acknowledgement of your complaint within 3 working days of receiving it together with a copy of this procedure and refer this to the Client Care Manager of the department which is dealing or dealt with your matter.
- They will investigate your complaint and report back to you within 28 days of the receipt of your complaint. In some circumstances, an appointment may also be made for you to discuss your concerns with the department head.
- If any of the timescales above change, we will let you know and explain why.
- If we do not receive a response from you within 4 weeks of the date of our final response, we will assume that your complaint has been resolved and will close the complaint.
- We do not charge for dealing with your complaint.
Referring your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman
If we are unable to resolve your complaint within 8 weeks, or if you remain dissatisfied, then you can ask the Legal Ombudsman to consider your complaint. The Legal Ombudsman can be contacted at:
Letter: The Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ.
Telephone: 0300 555 0333.
Please note that not all clients will be entitled to have their complaint reviewed here so please check the scheme rules for further details.
Scope of the Legal Ombudsman Scheme
The Legal Ombudsman is an independent complaints handling body that deals with complaints about poor service by lawyers and, generally, will require you to have first raised your complaint with us before they become involved.
Normally, you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within 6 months of receipt of our final written response and no more than 6 years from the date of the act or omission; or no more than 3 years from when you should reasonably have known that there was cause for complaint. The right to refer a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman is not open to all types of client, e.g. large commercial companies, and the Legal Ombudsman may therefore decline to deal with your complaint. Please check the Scheme Rules for further details.
Referring a complaint to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)
You can also raise concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) if you think we have breached an SRA Principle. The SRA Principles govern our conduct and behaviour, details of which can be found at: www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/standards-regulations/principles.
The SRA can be contacted by:
Letter: Solicitors Regulation Authority, The Cube, 199 Wharf Street, Birmingham B1 1RN.
Telephone: 0370 606 2555 (or) (+44 (0) 121 329 6800 for international callers). Fax: +44 (0) 121 616 1999.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
In addition to the Legal Ombudsman, alternative complaints bodies exist (Alternative Dispute Resolution or ADR bodies) which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should all parties agree to use such a scheme.
You may access the list of ADR bodies on the European Commission’s website (www.ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr). Please note that many of the ADR bodies are industry specific and are not appropriate for dealing with complaints of this nature.
We are not required to and have chosen not to adopt an ADR process because we consider the service offered by the Legal Ombudsman to be the most appropriate means of resolving complaints about legal services.
If we are unable to resolve your complaint and it relates to a contract we entered into online or by other electronic means, you may also be able to submit your complaint to an approved ADR provider in the UK via the EU “ODR platform”.
The ODR platform is an interactive website offering a single point of entry for disputes between consumers and traders relating to online contracts. The ODR platform is available to consumer clients only i.e. where you have instructed us for purposes outside of your trade or business. The website address for the ODR platform is: http://ec.europa.eu/odr.
Please note however that the ODR platform only transmits disputes to ADR bodies which are approved under European Law and these do not currently include the Legal Ombudsman’s Scheme.