Client Complaints Procedure
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 and, we hope, resolve your concerns as quickly as possible.
How to raise a complaint
If you have a complaint about any issue, in the first instance please contact the fee earner who is dealing with your matter. If the matter is not resolved to your satisfaction then please contact our Complaints Director, Martin Thomas. His contact details are:
Post: Silks Solicitors, 27 Birmingham Street, Oldbury, West Midlands, B69 4DY
Telephone: 0121 511 2233
We are happy to accept your complaint by post, email or telephone, but you may prefer to set out your concerns in writing, in order to reduce the possibility of any aspect of your complaint being misunderstood.
What will happen next?
We set out below a timetable within which we will aim to deal with your complaint. If we have to change any of the timescales set out we will contact you to explain why.
- We will send you a letter acknowledging your complaint letter / email / telephone call within three working days of receipt.
- Responsibility for investigating your complaint will be assigned to the director or supervisor best placed to carry out the investigation. He/she will normally review the file and speak to those who carried out the work.
- If it seems appropriate you may be invited to a meeting to discuss, and hopefully resolve, your complaint. If we propose to have a meeting you will be contacted within two weeks of the sending of the acknowledgment letter.
- If a meeting takes place we will write to you within three working days of the meeting, confirming what took place and setting out any solutions which were agreed with you.
- If a meeting is not possible, or you do not want to meet, we will send you a detailed reply to your complaint setting out any suggestions we have for resolving the matter. We would expect to send this reply within three weeks of sending you the acknowledgment letter.
- If at this stage you are not satisfied with our response you should contact us again and we will arrange for someone unconnected with the earlier investigation to carry out a further review. This further review will normally be conducted by another director of the practice, but at our discretion we may decide that the review should be carried out by another senior employee of the practice.
- We will write to you within three weeks of receiving your request for a review confirming our final decision on your complaint and explaining our reasons.
- If you are not satisfied with our final response then you may have the right to refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. Further details of this are set out below.
The Legal Ombudsman
The Legal Ombudsman is an independent organisation with powers to resolve complaints about legal services when issues have not been resolved between a lawyer and their client.
If you are dealing with us as a private individual then you will have the right to refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.
If you are a small business, charity, club or trust then you may have the right to refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. You can check if they are able to deal with your complaint by contacting the Legal Ombudsman at: Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ or by telephoning them on 0300 555 0333. You can also visit their website at www.legalombudsman.org.uk for further information.
The Legal Ombudsman will not normally accept a complaint for investigation unless eight weeks have passed since you first raised your complaint with us. This is to allow us the opportunity to deal with your concerns. The Legal Ombudsman may accept your complaint within the eight week period if we have already notified you of our final decision.
Please note that you have the right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman at the conclusion of our complaints procedure. Any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman should ordinarily be made within six months of the conclusion of our internal complaints procedure. In any event the Legal Ombudsman must receive details of any complaints that you wish to raise with them within 12 months of the act or omission or (if later) within 12 months of when you reasonably knew or ought to have known of the act or omission which is the cause of the complaint. Further information including an explanation of the time limits may be obtained by you from the Legal Ombudsman at any time. The Legal Ombudsman can be contacted at: Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ or at www.legalombudsman.org.uk.
If you are a business/organisation with 10 or more employees or a turnover per annum/balance sheet of over £1m then the Legal Ombudsman may not accept jurisdiction over any complaints you wish to raise. If you have any queries about this please contact either ourselves or the Legal Ombudsman.
Alternative complaints bodies (such as Small Claims Mediation at www.small-claims-mediation.co.uk) exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme.
If your concern relates to our charges, for contentious and non-contentious costs Sections 70, 71 and 72 of the Solicitors Act 1974 set out the rights of a client or other entitled person to have a bill assessed by the Court. Please note that the Legal Ombudsman may not consider a complaint about a bill if a client has applied to the court for assessment of a bill. Please also note that Silks may be entitled to charge interest on the outstanding amount of your bill.