A copy of our complaints procedure will be made available to you at the time of instruction if you are a new client or at the first available opportunity if you are an existing client.
Procedure for dealing with your complaint.
There are a number of ways in which your complaint may be dealt with:
Discussion over the telephone;
Dealt with by correspondence;
Discussion at a meeting between us;
The appointment of an independent person to investigate the complaint.
Time Limits for making a Complaint
If you are not happy with our final written response and you fall within their jurisdiction, you may make a formal complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.
Please note that the Legal Ombudsman, the independent complaints body for service complaints about lawyers, has time limits in which a complaint must be raised with them. This applies equally to Barristers. The time limits are set out in the Scheme Rules.
Rule 4.5 of the Scheme Rules provides:
The act or omission, or when the complainant should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint, must have been after 5 October 2010; and
The complainant must refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman no later than six years from the act / omission, or three years from when the complainant should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
The complainant must also refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of the complainant receiving a final response from their lawyer provided that the response complies with the requirements in Rule 4.4 of the Scheme Rules.
Rule 4.4 of the Scheme Rules requires the response from a lawyer to include prominently an explanation that:
the Legal Ombudsman was available if the complainant remained dissatisfied;
the provision of full contact details for the Ombudsman and
a warning that the complaint must be referred to them within six months of the date of the written response received from their lawyer.
Rule 4.2(a) of the Scheme Rules provides:
A complaint can be made to the Legal Ombudsman if your complaint has not been dealt within 8 weeks of you raising the same complaint with a lawyer.
Please note that Chambers must have regard to that timeframe when deciding whether they are able to investigate your complaint. Chambers will not therefore usually deal with complaints that fall outside of the Legal Ombudsman's time limits.
The Legal Ombudsman can extend the time limit in exceptional circumstances.
Those clients who are able to complain to the Legal Ombudsman are as follows:
Businesses or enterprises that are micro-enterprises within the meaning of Article 1 and Article 2(1) and (3) of the Annex to Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC (broadly businesses or enterprises with fewer than 10 employees and turnover or assets not exceeding €2 million);
Charities with an annual income net of tax of less than £1 million;
Clubs, associations or organisations, the affairs of which are managed by its members or a committee of its members, with an annual income net of tax of less than £1 million;
Trustees of trusts with an asset value of less than £1 million; and
Personal representatives or beneficiaries of the estates of persons who, before they died, had not referred the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.
This website shows providers which received an ombudsman’s decision in the previous calendar year, and whether the Legal Ombudsman’s (LeO) required the provider to give the consumer a remedy. Alternatively, you can contact the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) on 0300 555 0333 to ask about this (or email email@example.com).
Alternative Complaints Bodies
If you are unhappy with our final written response, alternative complaints bodies such as ProMediate may be able to help. They are competent to deal with complaints about legal services, should we both wish to use such a scheme. If you wish to use ProMediate please contact us to discuss this.
Please note that this Fact Sheet is available in an alternative format. If you require this Fact Sheet in an alternative format please contact us.