Complaints Procedure

Our Complaints Policy                                          

We are committed to providing a high-quality legal service to all our clients.  When something goes wrong, we need you to tell us about it.  This will help us to improve our standards. 

If you have a complaint, please contact Mr Andrew Blair our Client Care Partner. You can write to him at: Smith & Graham Solicitors, Church Square Chambers, 44-47 Church Street, Hartlepool, TS24 7HE 

Mr Blair will pass your complaint for comment to the Partner in charge of the department involved in your complaint. 

 

What will happen next? 

1. We will send you a letter acknowledging your complaint and we may ask you to confirm or explain the details of your complaint. We will also let you know the name of the person who will be dealing with your complaint. You can expect to receive our letter acknowledging your complaint within 7 working days of the receipt of your complaint.

2. We will record your complaint on our central register and open a file for your complaint. We will do this as soon as we receive your complaint.

3. If we have asked you to confirm or to explain further the details of your complaint we will acknowledge your letter to us with those details within 14 working days of the receipt of your letter.

4. When we receive your letter of complaint, or when we ask for further confirmation or explanation and we receive your second letter, we will then start to investigate your complaint. This may involve one or more of the following steps:

  • We may ask the member of staff who acted for you to let the person handling your complaint have a reply to your complaint within 10 working days.
  • The reply will be considered and any other information on your matter file by the person handling your complaint. The person handling your complaint may ask for further information and details from the person who acted for you. This exercise of investigation will be handled as quickly as possible and may take up to 28 working days from receipt of the first reply from the person who acted for you.
  • We will endeavour therefore to respond to your complaint within 42 working days of the receipt of your complaint or the receipt of your further letter of confirmation or explanation. Our letter will seek to resolve your complaint and we may invite you to meet with the person handling your complaint to discuss your complaint and to hopefully resolve that complaint.

 5. We hope that we will be able to resolve your complaint to your satisfaction and when that occurs we will write to you within 7 working days of any meeting or discussion with you to confirm what has taken place and what was discussed and any solutions which we have agreed with you.

6. If you do not want a meeting or that is not possible, we will try and discuss matters with you on the telephone, if that is necessary, but certainly we will respond to you in writing with a view to answering the issues you have raised in your complaint and with a view, as we say, of resolving your complaint.

7. If after we have met with you or if we have discussed matters with you on the telephone or we have written to you in answer to your complaint, you still feel that you are not satisfied you can write to us again. We will then arrange to review our decision and the result of the investigation into your complaint.  This will happen in one of the following ways.

  • The person handling your complaint will review the decision within 7 working days.
  • We will arrange for someone else in the firm who has not been involved in your complaint to review that complaint, the handling of that complaint and the result. This person will deal with this aspect of the matter within 10 working days.
  • Our Client Care Partner will review your complaint within 10 working days.
  • We will refer to the Local Conciliation Scheme to review your complaint and our complaint handling and we will ask for that to be dealt with within 10 working days or as soon as possible thereafter. We will let you know how long that process will take.
  • We will invite you to agree to independent mediation. We will let you know how long this process will take.

8. We will let you know the result of the review within 7 working days of the end of the review. At this time we will write to you confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining to you our reasons.

 

 If you are still not satisfied, you may contact:

 Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 15870, Birmingham B30 9EB

Website- www.legalombudsman.org.ukTel - 0300 555 0333E-mail - enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

There is a time limit for referring a matter to the Legal Ombudsman which is generally 6 months from the end of this firm’s procedure.

If we have to change any of the time scales referred to in this procedure, we will let you know and explain to you why.

April 2016

Established 1886

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