Philosophy and objectives
1. Our aim is that all of our clients are satisfied all of the time.
2. We acknowledge that it may not always be possible to achieve our aim and we welcome genuine complaints because:
2.1 a dissatisfied client who complains gives us the opportunity for that client to become a satisfied client; and
2.2 a complaint may draw our attention to individuals and/or procedures in business, which have fallen short of the standards we expect and therefore enable us to improve our service in the future.
2. All complaints will be dealt with promptly, positively and objectively.
The complaints procedure
1. Our complaints officer is Ian Pentecost (“CO”). He has been a partner for over 30 years and has some experience in most areas of our practice.
2. Upon receipt of a complaint by telephone or by personal attendance at our offices by a client, that client shall be referred immediately to the CO or his PA when short details of the client and the nature of the complaint will be taken and the client will be requested to make the complaint in writing.
3. If the client is unable to put a complaint in writing or requests an interview with the CO, an appointment will be made as soon as practicably possible, but in any event within 14 days.
4. In some instances the complaint may be resolved at the first meeting with the client but if not the following procedure shall be followed.
5. Upon receipt of details of the complaint (either in interview or in writing), the CO shall acknowledge receipt of the complaint in writing as soon as practicably possible and in any event within 5 working days and will enclose with such acknowledgement a copy of this procedure.
6. At the same time as the complaint is acknowledged the nature and date of the complaint shall immediately be logged on our complaints register together with the date it was received, the type of complaint and the name of the person who has conduct of the matter.
7. The CO shall conduct a prompt and thorough investigation into the complaint(s) and all persons in the business shall respond immediately to any requests made by the CO for files, a meeting with them or other information.
8. The CO shall consider the client’s complaint objectively. He shall report to the client either in writing or in a meeting, within 15 working days of date on which the details of the complaint (as referred to in paragraph 5) was received.
9. The client will be informed (with reasons) in respect of each complaint whether that complaint is upheld (wholly or partly) or not upheld (wholly or partly).
10. To the extent that a complaint is not upheld, the CO shall remind the client of their right to refer the matter to the Legal Ombudsman whose details are below.
11. To the extent that a complaint is upheld, the CO shall apologise on our behalf and may in some cases offer some form of compensation to the client. The upholding of any complaint or any apology or offer of compensation shall be entirely without prejudice and shall not in any circumstances or to any extent constitute acceptance of any liability by us.
12. The client’s complaint shall be considered resolved (i) upon the client accepting the CO’s determination of the complaint (and, if upheld, any terms for resolving the complaint) and (ii) in the event that the client does not object to the determination by the CO within 20 working days.
13. The resolution of the complaint shall be noted on our complaints register as soon as it is achieved and the relevant papers transferred to the complaints resolved file.
14. If you are not satisfied with how we handle your complaint, you may be able to ask the Legal Ombudsman to consider it. Their contact details are:
Any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within six months of the date of our final written response to your complaint. You should also be aware that the Legal Ombudsman will consider your complaint if you refer it on to them within either of the following:
- one year from the date of the act or omission being complained about; or
- one year from the date when you should reasonably have known that there was cause for complaint.
The Legal Ombudsman has discretion to extend the one year time limit for specific clients if, on the evidence, it is fair and reasonable to do so.
The Legal Ombudsman service cannot be used by businesses or most other organisations, unless they are below certain size limits. Further details are available from the Legal Ombudsman’s website.
For more information on the Legal Ombudsman’s rules and requirements, please see their LeO Rules.
15. The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help you if you are concerned about our 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. You can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
16. Alternative complaints bodies – for example, Ombudsman Services, ProMediate and Small Claims Mediation – exist, which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and we wish to use such a scheme. We do not agree to use any of these alternative complaints bodies.
dgb Solicitors LLP
01 April 2023