Our Complaints Policy
We are committed to delivering high quality professional services to all of our clients. When something goes wrong, we need you to tell us about it. This gives us the opportunity to investigate your concerns thoroughly. It also helps us to improve our service.
Our complaints procedure
If you have a complaint please contact us, either by letter, email or telephone call as follows:
Letter: Risk and Compliance Team, Gateway House, Tollgate, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, Hampshire SO53 3TG
Telephone: 023 8071 8000
You can complain in writing (by email or letter), at a meeting or by telephone. If you do complain by telephone then we may ask you to put your concerns in writing to ensure that we fully understand the position.
What will happen next?
1. We will send you an acknowledgement of your complaint within 3 working days of receiving it and we will send you a copy of this procedure.
2. We will open a file for your complaint and will record the complaint in our central register.
3. We will then investigate your complaint. Our Risk and Compliance Team will conduct a preliminary review and then allocate the complaint to personnel designated to respond to you.
4. We may invite you to a meeting, if this is appropriate, in order to discuss your complaint.
5. As a general rule, we will send you a detailed reply within 15 working days of receiving your complaint. If we are not able to respond to you within that timeframe, then we will inform you and explain the reason why.
6. If you remain unhappy then you can contact us again. We will then review our decision considering any further communication from you and will then respond within 10 working days.
7. If we have to change any of our timescales then we will let you know and explain the reason why.
8. If we have not received an acknowledgement from you within 4 weeks of the date of our final response, then we will assume that your complaint has been resolved and will close the complaint.
9. We do not charge for dealing with your complaint.
Referring your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman
The Legal Ombudsman is an independent complaints handling body that deals with complaints about poor service by lawyers.
As a general rule, the Legal Ombudsman will require you to have first raised your complaint with us before they become involved.
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. 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 Legal Ombudsman can be contacted at:
PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ
Telephone: 0300 555 0333
Please note that the right to refer your 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 behaviour and details can be found at www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/standards-regulations/principles. The SRA can be contacted at:
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. 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.