We value our clients. Clients are our business. Clients are also consumers, and handling complaints is part of consumer protection. A client’s right to complain is enshrined in law. As regulated professionals we know that handling and resolving complaints is an important service to protect our clients, ensure a high quality service, and maintain client confidence and assurance. If something goes wrong, how will it be addressed and sorted out – how are you protected?
The firm operates a complaints handling procedure in accordance with the Legal Services Act 2007, the Legal Ombudsman Scheme Rules, and the Solicitors Regulation Authority rules. If you are dissatisfied with our service the first step is to use our internal complaints handling procedure. If you remain dissatisfied you can escalate to an external independent body.
We offer a simple stepped approach to resolving complaints.
This is about how your case was handled, and whether the service was professional or unreasonable and inadequate.
1. Informal Resolution: Simply contact your caseworker or supervisor and explain your concerns. It is best to be clear and do so in writing by letter or email. This is designed to be quick and informal. If your concern is not resolved move to step 2.
2. Formal Complaint: Notify Mr Ash Bhatia, the firm’s “complaints handling officer” in writing by letter or email.
Letter to: Mr A. Bhatia, 12 Carrington Street, Nottingham, NG1 7FF.
Your letter or email should;
a) Have “COMPLAINT” written at the top or in the subject line.
b) Explain your complaint clearly and in detail.
c) Explain the remedy you seek i.e. how you want it resolved.
If you fail to notify Mr Ash Bhatia personally or do not use the address or email above your complaint may be diverted or delayed. Formal complaints are taken very seriously so you must start the process properly and explain your concerns clearly.
A formal complaint will result in a detailed investigation and a final written report. The law permits 8 weeks for formal complaints to be internally handled.
No fee will be charged for handling a complaint.
If your complaint remains unresolved escalate to external complaint handling and move to step 3.
3.1 Appeal to the Legal Ombudsman (LeO): The address is; Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806 Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ. The website is www.legalombudsman.org.uk.
The LeO is an external independent body that deals with complaints about professional service.
The LeO will not normally accept a complaint unless you have first made a formal complaint to the firm, and internal complaint handling has ended.
The LeO scheme rules were changed on 1st April 2023 and the time limits for making a complaint were modified. The LeO will not accept a complaint for investigation outside of important time limits which are;
a) Until 8 weeks after a complaint is made to the firm (time for internal complaints handling – Step 2 above).
b) After 6 months from date of final report regarding a formal complaint (conclusion of internal complaints handling)
c) After 1 year from the act or omission complained about.
d) After 1 year from when the complainant should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
3.2 Another option is to request Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR). There is no time limit here. See Complaints Guidance Note.
This is about serious wrongdoing, and whether a lawyer has breached rules about professional conduct.
4. Complaint to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA): You may complain to the SRA at www.sra.org.uk or Tel: 0370 606 2555.
The SRA is an external independent body that regulates the conduct of lawyers.
The SRA will not normally deal with complaints about professional service, which are for the LeO, rather breaches of rules about professional conduct and ethical standards called the SRA Standards and Regulations.
There is no time limit for a complaint to the SRA.