Client Care & Our Complaints Policy
We are committed to providing a high quality legal service to all our clients. When something goes wrong you need to tell us about it. This will help us to improve our standards.
Our Complaints Procedure
If you have a complaint, please contact Susan Willoughby who is responsible for Client Care. Susan is the Group Risk & Compliance Manager (the Director for overall responsibility of the team is Steve Dibb). In the first instance you can contact Susan at:
Switalskis Solicitors Limited
Telephone number: 01977 703215
What will happen next?
- We will send you a letter acknowledging your complaint and setting out our understanding of the issues you are concerned about. In that letter we will ask you to confirm or otherwise our understanding of the nature of your complaint. We will also let you know the name of the person who will be dealing with the complaint.
- We will record your complaint in our central register and open a file for your complaint.
- We will then start to investigate your complaint. This will normally involve the following steps:
- The person dealing with your complaint will request your file of papers from the member of staff who acted in your case and will consider the information in your file of papers in the light of your complaint
- The person dealing with your complaint may ask the member of staff who acted for you to provide their response to your complaint. This response will be sent to the person dealing with the complaint.
- We may invite you to meet the member of staff and/or the person investigating the complaint, where we will hopefully resolve your complaint.
- If such a meeting is convened, within five days of the meeting we will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions we have agreed with you.
- If you do not want a meeting or we do not feel a meeting is necessary or appropriate we will send you a detailed reply to your complaint. This will include our suggestions for resolving the matter.
- At this stage, if you are still not satisfied you can contact us again. We will review the decision. This review may result in a further proposal for settlement being made or may result in the original proposal being re-put.
- At this time we will write to you confirming our final position on your complaint. We will also give you contact information for The Legal Ombudsman. If you are still not satisfied you can contact them about your complaint.
The above procedure in total should not exceed 8 weeks. If this time scale needs to be amended we will contact you to let you know why.
The Legal Ombudsman Service
Should you wish to refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman Service, they will require you to have already made your complaint to us. The Legal Ombudsman Service will require copies of your complaint and our response.
We are permitted a period of eight weeks to consider the complaint. If for any reason we are unable to resolve the problem between us within that timeframe, then our clients are advised that they may ask the Legal Ombudsman to consider the complaint.
Clients are free to refer any complaint about our work, fees or level of service but there are some conditions and time limits. Please be aware that any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within six months of the client having received a final written response from us about their complaint. Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within one year of the act or omission about which the client is complaining occurring or from when the client should have known about or become aware that there were grounds for complaint.
You can find useful guidance and resources on their website – www.legalombudsman.org.uk (telephone 0300 555 0333; email firstname.lastname@example.org) including a template and guide to making a complaint if you haven’t already done so.
In addition we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (“the SRA”). They work with solicitors firms such as ours to make sure we comply with their Principles, to make sure we behave independently, fairly and with integrity to best serve the interests of our clients and the public interest. They welcome information about dishonesty or breaches of their Principles.
Please note the SRA is not able to deal with issues of poor service.
Examples of where the SRA could help include:
- Shutting down our firm without telling you.
- Dishonesty or deliberately overcharging you.
- Taking or losing your money.
- Treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic.