We aim never to give a client cause for complaint but realise that occasionally our service may fall below that standard which is expected by our clients. In those few cases we understand that for that client it becomes more important for us to deal with this in an open and honest manner in a timely fashion, so as to investigate and to rectify the situation, to ensure that we do not allow a client to remain unsatisfied in the long-term. We will always ensure that we are approachable to our clients in all dealings so that they feel able to raise any issues with us.
We want to give you the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service we have provided to you then you should inform us immediately so that we can do our best to resolve the problem for you. In the first instance it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your case to discuss any concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues at this stage. If you feel that you would like to make a formal complaint then you can access our full complaints procedure below.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T AGREE WITH YOUR VIEWS ON THE COMPLAINT?
If we are unable to resolve the complaint with you then you can have the complaint independently looked at by the Legal Ombudsman.
“Reproduced with the permission of the Legal Ombudsman: the independent complaints handling body for legal service providers.”
The Legal Ombudsman investigates problems about poor service from lawyers. Before accepting a complaint for investigation the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:
- Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint; and
• Six years from the date of act/omission; or
• Three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint (only if the act took place more than six years ago).
The act or omission, or when you should have reasonably known there was cause for complaint, must have been after 5 October 2010.
If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman please contact them:
- Visit legalombudsman.org.uk; or
- Call 0300 555 0333 between 8.30am to 5.30pm. For minicom call 0300 555 1777 (Calls to 03 numbers will cost no more than calls to national geographic numbers (starting 01or 02) from both mobiles and landlines. Calls are recorded and may be used for training and monitoring purposes.); or
- Email [email protected]; or
- Write to The Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
NOTE: Do not send original documents to the Legal Ombudsman. They will scan any documents you send us to make computer copies and then destroy the originals.
OUR INTERNAL COMPLAINTS PROCESS:-
1. WRITTEN COMPLAINT RECEIVED
This is received and is read through to ensure that the complaint is understood.
The Complaint is acknowledged as received by email (if possible) within 48 hours.
The complaints handler will immediately open a new file for this complaint and add it to the records for complaints.
The complaints handler will speak to the PLC member of staff concerned asking them to write a response to the complaint within 14 days.
The complaints handler will review the both complaint in detail and the response from the PLC staff member. If any further points need clarification the complaints handler will do this by telephone and keep a written record of this call.
The complaints handler will review all evidence and make a decision on the complaint, having regard to our 7 principles and the TCF guidelines from the FCA.
The complaints handler will then make a written judgment on the complaint in the form of a letter addressed to the client raising the complaint. The complaints handler will also take any further action required as recommended in his decision into immediate effect.
Before sending this decision letter, the complaints handler will discuss the outcome with the member of staff and any training issue or disciplinary points arising will be dealt with before the letter is sent. This letter will be sent within 28 days of the complaint being received in full.
7. SENDING DECISION LETTER
The letter is send to the client preferably by email asking them to confirm within 7 days that they are satisfied.
Within this letter we will confirm that if the client is not satisfied then they have the right to contact CILEx Regulation although our letter will confirm that we would like to have the opportunity to discover what would satisfy the client and if reasonable and practicable this step will be taken to ensure satisfaction.
8. ACKNOWLEDGMENT OR ESCALATION
If within 7 days the client has not responded that they are now satisfied the complaint handler will telephone them to obtain this. Once this has been obtained the file will be closed and the record marked as satisfied.
If the client confirms that they are not satisfied the complaint handler will attempt to discover what would satisfy the client and if reasonable and practicable this step will be taken to ensure satisfaction.
The complaints handler will take all steps necessary to ensure that the client is satisfied but where the matter is escalated; they must ensure that they deal with the 3rd party in a timely and efficient manner in accordance with our 7 principles.
8. EXTERNAL BODIES
Clients have the right to complain free of charge to CILEx Regulation and/or the Legal Ombudsman.
CILEx Regulation deal with the misconduct of a CILEx member. Complaints must be made within 12 months of the event that gave rise to the complaint or within 12 months of the complainant having knowledge of the events, whichever is the greater.
Martin Kingman’s regulator is CILEx Regulation, Kempston Manor, Kempston, Bedford, MK42 7AB, Phone: 01234 845770, Email: [email protected]. Please see https://www.cilexregulation.org.uk/conduct-and-complaints/complaints
As stated above you also have the right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ, Phone: 0300 555 0333, Email: [email protected]. This must be within six years from the date of act/omission, or three years from when the complainant should have known about the complaint; and within six months of the complainant receiving a final response to their complaint by us.
9. ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ADR)
We welcome any opportunity to resolve any disputes and we fully support ADR as a method of doing this where appropriate, please see Alternative-Dispute-Resolution-Guidance
Alternative dispute resolution bodies (such as the Legal Services Board – https://www.legalservicesboard.org.uk/index.htm) exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme.
PLC House, Staplehurst Lodge, Staplehurst Road, Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 1XP
Monday to Friday 9am-5pm
Tel: 0333 332 7007
Email: [email protected]