At SO Legal we value your business. If you have any reason whatsoever to be unhappy please tell us as soon as possible – our complaints procedure is outlined below. This helps us improve our standards and will obviously ensure we can act quickly to address the issues you have raised.
Here is our step-by-step guide.
1. The person handling your matter is the first person to tell. If this is difficult for you to do for whatever reason then tell the person supervising the work – details will be in the letter we send when you first instruct us – if you have any doubts about who that might be just ask.
2. If the complaint needs to be taken further then the next step is the involvement of our Complaints Manager, Hamish Smith. Here are his contact details:
Phone: 01323 407555
Post: Client Experience Manager, 15 Gildredge Road, Eastbourne, BN21 4RB
3. We will acknowledge your complaint in writing within seven days.
4. We will take details of your complaint or review the details you have provided and discuss them with you, the Legal Adviser dealing with the matter, and if appropriate their Head of Department.
5. We will then provide you with an initial response to your complaint, with a suggested way forward. If you accept that this resolves your complaint, this will be the end of the process, which we call a Stage One We would hope that most complaints are resolved prior to or at this stage.
6. If you are not satisfied with the initial response, your complaint will be passed to the nominated Complaints Director, Hamed Ovaisi. He will review the information and, on most occasions, the case file. He will then provide you with a substantive response to the complaint. If you accept that the response resolves your complaint that would be the end of the process, which we call a Stage Two
7. If you remain dissatisfied at that point, we would offer you the opportunity to resolve the complaint using Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) via Pro Mediate UK Limited, The Legal Complaints Service, Brow Farm, Top Road, Frodsham WA6 6SP (promediate.co.uk ). They are competent to deal with complaints about legal services, should you and we agree to use them. If you (and we) accept their proposed resolution, that would be the end of the process, which we call a Stage Three resolution. You do not have to agree to this ADR and can go straight to the Legal Ombudsman after you have received our substantive response at the conclusion of Stage Two.
8. If you are not satisfied after ADR (or at the end of Stage Two if you do not agree to the ADR), you have the right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman, the details of which are given below.
You have six months from the date of our final letter in which to complain to the Legal Ombudsman.
Contact details for the Legal Ombudsman:
Address: PO Box 6806 Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ
Phone: 0300 555 0333
9. There would be no charge to you at any stage of the complaint investigation, including the appointment of the ADR firm, and any involvement of the Legal Ombudsman.
Stage One – within three weeks
Stage Two – within a further three weeks
Stage Three – within two weeks
The Legal Ombudsman will provide you with an estimated timescale, which may vary according to the complexity of the complaint. We have no control over their timescale, save that we will comply, so far as possible, with requests made to us for information within the periods they set.
If for good reason we are unlikely to be able to complete any Stage within the periods mentioned above, we will inform you.
If you feel we have delayed unreasonably in responding to your complaint, you can complain direct to the Legal Ombudsman, but they will normally allow law firms up to 8 weeks to respond to complaints.
11. Time Limits
In respect of any issue which arises out of work we undertook after 5 October 2010, you have six years from the date of the act or omission to inform the Legal Ombudsman of the complaint or three years from when you should reasonably have known about it, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
If you wish to complain to the Legal Ombudsman because you are dissatisfied with our response, you must contact them within twelve months of our Stage Two substantive response.
12. This complaints procedure is designed to address complaints of inadequate service. If you think we have made a mistake, we may have to report this to our insurers. In that event we are sometimes obliged to discuss the matter with them before we can respond. At that stage you may be advised of the need to take advice from an independent solicitor, but we will, where possible, seek to put matters right. If you make a claim against us because you believe we have made a mistake or have been negligent, this may affect your ability to complain to the Legal Ombudsman, whilst the claim is running.
13. If your complaint is about the amount you have been charged, please note that you have the right to apply to the Court to have our invoice assessed, as set out on our invoices sent to you. This is a complex procedure about which we would suggest you seek independent advice.