Complaints Procedure

Our Client Service Standards Policy

We aim to offer all our clients an efficient, effective and high-quality service and we encourage feedback from clients about our services, our Partners and our staff. If you are dissatisfied with the service we have provided then you have the right to complain. We acknowledge that we may not always get it right so if something has gone wrong, including in relation to the invoice, we need you to tell us.  This will help us improve and maintain our quality standards.

How do I make a complaint?

You can contact us in writing (by letter or email) or by speaking with our Principal, whose contact details are:

Ms. Avril Croud, Stephen & Son Solicitors, Rome House, 41 Railway Street, Chatham, Kent, ME4 4RP.

To help us to understand your complaint, and in order that we do not miss anything, please tell us:

  • your full name and contact details
  • what you think we have got wrong
  • your file reference number (if you have it), and
  • what you hope to achieve as a result of your complaint

How we will deal with your complaint?

1.  We will record your complaint in our central register and send you a letter acknowledging your complaint within 5 working days of receipt and enclosing a copy of this procedure. We will also let you know the name of the person who will be dealing with your complaint. Typically, this will be the Complaints Partner although exceptionally she may allocate another member of the firm's management to deal with the complaint in her place.

2.  Our Complaints Partner will investigate your complaint. This will normally involve the following steps:

    a.  She will ask the partner or member of staff who acted for you to provide a response to your complaint and, where necessary, speak to the member of staff who acted for you about the matter.

    b.  She will then examine your complaint and the staff member’s response. She may also speak to other staff who may have been involved with your case, and if necessary review your file(s) and correspondence, time records and other relevant documentation.

    c.  Ms. Croud may suggest, or invite you to, a meeting, or arrange a telephone call, if necessary and appropriate, to discuss the matter with you and hopefully resolve your complaint. If a meeting is to be arranged, Ms. Croud will invite you to a meeting within 10 working days of sending you the acknowledgement letter. Thereafter Ms. Croud will write to you within 10 working days of the meeting to confirm what took place at the meeting or telephone call and any steps or solutions she has agreed with you.

3.  Except where a meeting or telephone call has been arranged, our Complaints Partner will aim to finalise his investigation and respond to your complaint within 21 working days of the date of our letter of acknowledgement. This response may include suggestions for resolving the matter. If we need longer to investigate your complaint, we will contact you to confirm this and aim to complete our investigation within a further 10 working days. If the matter is particularly complex, we may write to you again to confirm any further extension we will require. We will in any event provide you with a substantive response within 8 weeks of receiving your complaint.

4.  If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of our decision, you can contact us again and we will arrange for the decision to be reviewed, typically by another Partner at the Firm (where possible).

5.  We will let you know the result of that review within 10 working days confirming our final position on your complaint.

6.  Occasionally we may have to change the timescales set out above, if we do, we will let you know and explain why.

The Legal Ombudsman (LeO)

1.  In the unlikely event that you should remain unsatisfied or we are unable to resolve your complaint then you can have the complaint independently looked at by the Legal Ombudsman. The Legal Ombudsman investigates complaints about service issues with lawyers.

2.  However, before you contact the Legal Ombudsman you must first register an official complaint with us as outlined above. Normally, the Legal Ombudsman expects you to give us 8 weeks to try to resolve the matter. If after 8 weeks you are still dissatisfied you can then involve the Legal Ombudsman.

3.  The Legal Ombudsman expects complaints to be made to them within one year of the date of the act or omission about which you are concerned or within one year of you realising there was a problem. You must also refer your concerns to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of our final response. The Legal Ombudsman’s rules states: “you will need to contact the Legal Ombudsman within 1 year of the issue you are complaining about or, if it was longer ago, within 1 year of you finding out about the issue. These time limits may be extended in certain circumstances.”
 

The Legal Ombudsman's contact details are as follows:

Telephone: 0300 555 0333
Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk
Visit: www.legalombudsman.org.uk

Legal Ombudsman
PO Box 6167
Slough
SL1 0EH

The Solicitor Regulation Authority

If you think a solicitor might be dishonest or you have concerns about their ethics or integrity, you also have the right to notify our regulator, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). There are no time limits for making a report but there are limits on what the SRA will consider. Please note that the SRA is not able to deal with issues of poor service (complaints of this nature should instead be referred to the Legal Ombudsman). For further information about the SRA's role, please visit: www.sra.org.uk/consumers.

 

For further information please Contact Us or call to speak to one of our experts on 01634 811444.