Our Complaints Policy
Occasionally mistakes will happen and things will go wrong – and where they do, we want to resolve and put things right as quickly and effectively as possible, using any concerns or complaints as a way of improving our services. When we are dealing with complaints, we will always aim to be reasonable, fair, proportionate, accessible and responsive to your needs. This Complaints Policy tells you what you can expect from us and our Complaints Handling Procedure (below) tells you how to make a complaint.
- We will always make you aware of how to complain, both when you first instruct us, and at the time you raise any concerns.
- If you tell us about any special needs or disabilities you may have, we will do our best to make arrangements to accommodate you.
Good Client Care
- We will ensure that the person handling your complaint is properly trained and equipped and that they understand what they should do to provide a good complaints handling process
- We will handle your complaint in accordance with the law, any relevant policies and guidance, and with all published service standards.
Communicating with you
- Our Complaints Handling Procedure will be clear and simple and will contain as few stages as possible.
- Your complaint will be acknowledged and dealt with promptly and you will be given clear timescales at each stage of the process.
- We will deal with your complaint more quickly than the rules require us to if there is a reason why this is desirable.
- We will communicate with you, whether in writing or on the phone, in a clear and understandable way.
Accountability and Transparency
- We will properly investigate your complaint and objectively consider the issues and evidence involved.
- We will give you a clear and honest explanation for the decision provided based on the evidence involved.
- We will advise you of your right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman if you remain unhappy with our final decision.
- We will keep an ordered and full record of the way in which your complaint was handled, and store this separately from your matter file.
Acting Fairly and Proportionately
- We will treat you impartially without any discrimination or prejudice.
Putting things Right
- If we admit that we have made a mistake or omitted to do something that we should have done, we will offer you our full apologies at the earliest opportunity, as well as an explanation offered about what went wrong.
- Any offer of redress we make you will be prompt and proportionate; we will always try to consider the impact of our mistake on you and recognise any upset or inconvenience we may have caused.
Improving our Service
- We will try to identify ways to improve the service we provide.
- Whenever possible we will tell you of any changes to our procedures and systems which were introduced as a result of your complaint
Our Complaints Handling Procedure
This Complaints Handling Procedure tells you how we will deal with your complaint and how long it is likely to take. It also provides important information about what you can do if you are not happy with the way in which we are dealing with your complaint, or about our final decision. Our Complaints Policy (above) contains further information about what you can expect from us when you make a complaint.
Contacting us about your Complaint
If you have any concerns about our service, our work or our charges, please contact our Client Care Director, William Hoyland with the details, either in writing to;
Pennine Law Ltd, Riversdale, 34 Market Street, Hoyland, Barnsley, S74 9QR, by email, or by telephone 01226 369600.
Step One – Acknowledging your Complaint
Within two working days of receiving your complaint, we will record it in our Central Complaints Register and open a separate file in which we will store any correspondence and other documents relating to your complaint. Within three working days we will also send you a letter acknowledging your complaint.
Step Two – Investigating your Complaint
Within ten working days of receiving your complaint we will speak to the member of staff who acted for you (where applicable) to gather relevant information in relation to your complaint. We will also review your file(s) and any other relevant documentation and speak to you, or send you a letter, telling you how we propose to deal with your complaint. Examples of how we may do this are as follows:
- If your complaint is straight forward we might make suggestions as to how we can put things right or we may offer you some form of redress;
- If your complaint is more complicated we might ask you to confirm, explain or clarify any issues
- We may ask to meet with you to discuss things face to face and we would hope to be in a position to meet with you no longer than fourteen working days after first receiving your complaint. If you would prefer not to meet, or if we cannot arrange this within an agreeable timescale, we will write to you fully setting out our views on the situation and making suggestions as to how we can put things right, or asking you to confirm, explain or clarify any issues. Within three working days of any meeting, we will write to you again to confirm what took place and to confirm any offer of redress that we have made.
Whichever form our investigation takes, we will aim to give you our final decision within six weeks of receiving your complaint (or sooner if possible).
Step Three – The Legal Ombudsman
If you are not satisfied with our final decision, you can then contact the Legal Ombudsman about your complaint.
Ordinarily, you cannot use the Legal Ombudsman unless you have first attempted to resolve your complaint using our internal Complaints Handling Procedure, but you will be able to contact the Legal Ombudsman if:
- The complaint has not been resolved to your satisfaction within eight weeks of first making the complaint to us; or
- The Legal Ombudsman decides that there are exceptional reasons why the Legal Ombudsman should consider your complaint sooner, or without you having to use our internal Complaints Handling Procedure; or
- The Legal Ombudsman considers that your complaint cannot be resolved using our internal Complaints Handling Procedure because the relationship between you and us has broken down irretrievably.
Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six years of the event giving rise to the complaint, or three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint without taking advice from a third party, whichever is later. However, the Legal Ombudsman will not accept complaints where the event giving rise to the complaint or date of awareness was before 6 October 2010.
If you wish to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, further information can be found on their website or by telephoning or writing to them. Their contact details are below
Address: Legal Ombudsman, P O Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
Telephone: 0300 555 0333
Alternative dispute resolution
Alternative complaints bodies, such as ProMediate UK Ltd (www.promediate.co.uk) exist and are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and this firm wish to use such a scheme. We do not usually agree to use such schemes as those operated by ProMediate UK Ltd as we believe LeO is better equipped to resolve complaints against legal firms.
Our professional conduct or behaviour
Our regulatory body, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) can help you if you are concerned about our conduct or 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.
We are bound by various professional rules of conduct which can be viewed online on the SRA’s website (https://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/standards-regulations). You can also see more information about the assistance, guidance and help the SRA can give to you here: https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor.page