Farnfields is committed to high quality legal advice and client care. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you have received we need to know about it so that we can identify any changes which may need to be made to our processes. In turn this will help us to improve our standards. We have clear procedures about how we deal with such issues and we take very seriously all expressions of dissatisfaction from our clients.
This policy sets out how we handle complaints to ensure that each complaint is dealt with swiftly in an attempt to reach an amicable and satisfactory solution.
The Partner with responsibility for handling complaints is Sarah Butler. Her contact details are:-
Telephone: 01747 825432
The Complaints Partner has discretion to delegate aspects of the investigation to other members of the team as they see fit. Where this is the case, the investigation will always be supervised by the Complaints Partner and they will always review the final response prior to sending to you.
We ask that your complaint is fully detailed in writing so that we have complete clarity as to your concerns. However, we appreciate that there may be circumstances where this is not possible. If a complaint is received verbally and you are not able to set this out in writing, we will write to you setting out our understanding of your complaint. We will ask you to confirm that our understanding is correct prior to taking the steps below.
Once we have received your complaint we will:-
- Open a file and record your complaint on our central register.
- Acknowledge your complaint in writing within two working days of receipt. If we do not consider your complaint is detailed enough, we may need to ask you for additional information at this stage. We may contact you by telephone or in writing to do this. It is unlikely that we will be able to begin our investigation until we have received this information.
- Begin to investigate your complaint. This generally consists of a file review and discussions with the lawyer and where appropriate, their Head of Department and/or Supervisor.
- Communicate the outcome of our investigation in writing (unless there are circumstances which mean that this will not be possible). We aim to respond to all complaints within 28 days of acknowledging your complaint. However, depending on the size and complexity of your complaint, this may not always be possible and further time may be required. Other factors, such as staff absence or bank holidays may also affect response times but we will always confirm to you in our acknowledgement letter the date by which you can expect a substantive response.
- Let you know if any of the timescales provided change and explain the reasons why.
If after receiving our final response you remain dissatisfied, you can write to us again expressing your concerns. At this point your complaint will be referred to our Practice Director for consideration. Their response to your complaint will be sent to you within eight weeks of receiving your original complaint.
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome or you are unhappy about how we have handled your complaint, you can refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. Prior to accepting your complaint, they will confirm that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us before referring to them. If you wish to refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman you must do so:-
- Within six months of the date of our final response to your complaint; and
- No more than one year from the date of the act or omission being complained about or when you should have realised that there was cause for complaint.
Further information about the Legal Ombudsman can be found on their website, www.legalombudsman.org.uk. Alternatively you can contact them by phone on 0300 555 0333 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information in relation to LeO’s scheme rules, please visit https://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/information-centre/corporate-publications/scheme-rules/
The Legal Ombudsman recommends that you exhaust the firm’s formal complaints procedure before contacting them.
You also have the right to make a report to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (“SRA”). The SRA can help if you are concerned about our behaviour. For example, if you consider that we have been dishonest, you have concerns about the way in which we have handled your money or you feel that we have treated you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other protected characteristic. To make a report please visit http://www.sra.org.uk/consumer/problems/report-solicitorpage or contact the SRA at Solicitors Regulation Authority, The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RN. Alternatively, you may telephone them on 0370 606 2555.
Alternative complaint bodies – such as Ombudsman Services or ProMediate – also exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our Firm agree to use such a service.