What to do if you have a complaint

What to do if you have a complaint

Complaints handling procedure – your guide

Our complaints policy

Gotelee Solicitors LLP is committed to providing a high-quality legal service to all our clients. Should something go wrong we need you to tell us about it so we can address your concerns. It will also help us maintain and improve our standards. The summary below explains who you should complain to and how we will handle a complaint.

Who should you complain to?

If you have a problem please raise it first by contacting the person handling your matter and giving them full details.

Step 1

Once you have contacted the person handling your matter with details of a complaint, he or she will:

1. Respond quickly to acknowledge that you have made a complaint, and ask you to confirm or explain further what your concerns are and how you believe they can be remedied. You can expect to receive a letter or e-mail confirming this within 2 working days of us receiving your complaint. The Team Leader and Client Liaison Partner will be given a copy of this letter or e-mail together with details of your complaint and the steps taken to investigate and respond to your concerns. The Client Liaison Partner maintains a central record of complaints and responses and oversees the complaints handling process.

2. Respond personally. The person handling your matter may ask to meet or talk over the telephone if this may help to achieve a speedy resolution.

3. Investigate your concerns to get to the bottom of the problem, clarify the issues and decide what we propose to do.

4. Try to resolve the problem quickly and write to you within 14 days to explain the steps taken and our response to the complaint. We hope we will be able to address the problem to your satisfaction, but this letter will include an invitation to contact the Team Leader or Client Liaison Partner if you are not happy with their response to the problem.

Step 2

Should you be unhappy with the outcome of Step 1 or if you would prefer to speak to someone else, you may raise your concerns formally with the relevant Team Leader. Details of the relevant Team Leader are set out in our client engagement letter that was sent to you at the beginning of your matter.

It is helpful to us if you can set out in as much detail the cause of your concern(s), the reasons that you have for them and what you feel ought to be done to resolve your concerns.  The Team Leader will then consider your file of papers with the person handling your matter and respond directly to you within 14 days.

Step 3

If you are not satisfied with the response received from the Team Leader (or if your complaint relates to a matter being handled on your behalf by the Team Leader), then the matter will be passed to our Client Liaison Partner, Mr Andrew West, who is responsible for handling all complaints which have not been resolved in Step 1 or Step 2 above.

The Client Liaison Partner will investigate the complaint as quickly as possible, ascertain what led to it and take such steps as are necessary to remedy the problem. He will write to you to explain the outcome of his investigation within 21 days of your concerns being referred to him. The Client Liaison Partner’s decision will be confirmed in writing and represents the final stage of the firm’s internal complaints handling procedure.

If you are still dissatisfied?

If, following the firm’s final response from the Client Liaison Partner, you are still not satisfied that your complaint has been fully addressed, you may be able to ask The Legal Ombudsman, an independent body that investigates complaints from consumers about solicitors, to help. Their service is independent, impartial and free and is available to:

• individuals;
• very small businesses (with fewer than 10 employees and a turnover or balance sheet value of less than 2m Euros);
• charities, clubs, associations or societies (with an annual income net of tax of less than £1 million);
• trustees of a trust (with an asset value of less than £1m); or
• personal representatives or beneficiaries of the estate of a person who wanted to complain, but who died before a referral was made to the Legal Ombudsman

The Legal Ombudsman can be contacted by:

• Telephone helpline 0300 555 0333, open Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm; or
• Website at www.legalombudsman.org.uk; or
• Email to enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk; or
• By writing to them at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ.

Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:

  • Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint under our internal complaints procedure;

and

  • No more than six years from the date of act/omission you are complaining about; or
  • No more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for your complaint.

If your complaint is about a bill that you have received from us, you may have a right to object to the bill by applying to the court for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.

If you ask for the bill to be assessed by the court, you would not be able to ask the Legal Ombudsman to consider a complaint about the bill.

The Solicitors Regulation Authoruty can help you if you are concerned about the behaviour or conduct of a solicitor or any other member of Gotelee’s staff. You can ask for more information from or raise your concerns with The Solicitors Regulation Authority, but we would always encourage you to raise any concerns you may have with us first.

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