Our complaints policy
We are committed to providing a high-quality legal service to all our clients. When something goes wrong, we need clients to tell us about it. It is important that you are happy with the service that we have provided and that we resolve any issues quickly for you.
Our complaints procedure
Upon becoming aware that you may have a complaint, we will provide you with a copy of this document which is the firm’s complaints procedure. If you have a complaint, including a complaint about your bill(s), please write to us with the details. We would ask that you provide us with as much information as possible, as well as any relevant documents, so that we may understand your complaint and investigate as fully as possible.
What will happen next?
1. We will record your complaint in our central register.
2. We will send you a letter or e-mail acknowledging your written complaint and may ask you to clarify or explain the details set out. We will also let you know the name of the person who will be dealing with your complaint. You can expect to receive our letter within 5 working days of us receiving your written complaint.
3. We will pass your complaint to Ray Crudgington, our Client Care Partner, who will investigate the matter and write to you with his findings within 28 days of receiving your written complaint. (In some circumstances the time limit may be extended, for example due to staff absence or holiday). Ray Crudgington may be assisted by Laura Danquah, our compliance manager.
4. Once you have considered the response, you will be invited to reply to Ray Crudgington within 14 days of receiving his reply. If we do not hear from you within this time period, we shall consider that Ray Crudgington has dealt with your complaint and the matter may be treated as “closed”. If for any reason you need longer to reply, please write to us within the period to request an extension of time, explaining why the extension is needed. If you require Ray Crudgington to review certain aspects of his response letter, please give an explanation and sufficient information to enable him to do so.
5. Ray Crudgington will respond to your letter within 7 days unless you have requested that he move directly to paragraph 6 below. (In some circumstances the time limit may be extended, for example due to staff absence or holiday).
6. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, Ray Crudgington may invite you to meet him during normal office hours at a time convenient to you to discuss your complaint with a view to resolving outstanding matters. If Ray Crudgington does not consider it appropriate to meet with you, he will explain why. If, without good reason, you fail to attend an arranged appointment to discuss the matter, then we may consider the matter “closed”.
7. Following any meeting, Ray Crudgington will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions he has agreed with you.
8. Should your complaint relate to a matter being handled by Ray Crudgington, then another Partner, Mike Clary, will consider your complaint in accordance with the above procedure.
9. If your complaint is upheld, then in addition to any practical steps proposed to remedy the situation the firm may:-
(a) offer an apology and an assurance that it will not happen again and that we will try to do better
(b) offer a reduction of your bill
(c) offer a total abatement of your bill
(d) notify you of your right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman and the time limits
(e) notify you of your right to see another solicitor and obtain advice as to whether the firm has been negligent.
10. Where a complaint raises issues of negligence or potential negligence on the part of the firm, we will need to take the advice of our professional indemnity insurers. In such circumstances we may be advised to terminate the operation of our complaints procedure and move directly to paragraph 9(e) above.
11. If you are still not satisfied with our handling of your case or the handling of your complaint, you may have a right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman which has formal powers to resolve complaints about lawyers and provides a free and impartial service. The Legal Ombudsman will accept complaints from individual clients, small businesses, charities, clubs, societies, associations and trusts. Complainants must normally try to resolve their complaint via the firm’s internal complaints handling process before they can refer it to the Legal Ombudsman. The Legal Ombudsman allows the lawyer eight weeks to deal with your complaint and therefore your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman should not normally be made until this eight week period has elapsed.
12. You should note that the Legal Ombudsman will only accept your complaint if it is made not later than one year from the:
- date of the act or omission being complained about; or
- date when the complainant should have realised that there was cause for complaint
whichever is the later
13. Please be aware that the Legal Ombudsman has a discretion allowing an ombudsman to consider whether it is a proportionate use of resource and time to investigate a complaint. This enables the Legal Ombudsman to dismiss or discontinue a complaint if the loss, detriment or impact is deemed not to be significant.
The Legal Ombudsman also has the ability to conclude that a final decision is not needed on a case if no substantive issues have been raised in response to the initial investigator’s findings or remedy.
14. Additionally, you should note that a complaint must be referred to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of the date of the final response to your complaint from the person at Grant Saw handling and investigating your complaint. Therefore, in any event you must apply to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of your last contact with ourselves.
15. Full details about the Legal Ombudsman and its role can be found at www.legalombudsman.org.uk. Contact details are:-
PO Box 6806
Tel: 0300 555 0333
16. Alternative complaints bodies, such as ProMediate exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and the firm wish to use such a scheme.
The website for ProMediate is https://www.promediate.co.uk/professionals-complaints/consumer-guidance/
We do not agree to use ProMediate. This is because we consider the service offered by The Legal Ombudsman to be the most appropriate means of resolving any dispute. However, if you would like to make representations to us as to why we should use ProMediate on any particular occasion, then you may do so.
We will not consider using ProMediate if the matter has already been dealt with by the Legal Ombudsman.
17. The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help 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.
Visit their website to see how you can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority at https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor/