Complaints and Information about the Legal Ombudsman

Our Complaints Policy

We are committed to providing a high quality service to all our clients.  When something goes wrong we need you to tell us about it. We very much want all our clients to be delighted with the service we provide, and we are anxious to put right any problems that may arise. We view complaints positively as a way to improve our standards.

It may be possible to resolve an issue quickly and informally. However for situations where that would not be appropriate, we have a formal complaints procedure which you can use, which is as follows.

Our Complaints Procedure

Our complaints procedure is completely free of charge.

Moreover, the fact that you have made a complaint should not necessarily prevent us from continuing to work for you if you would like us to do so - provided we can separate the complaint from the rest of what we are doing for you and our relationship with you has not been too badly affected for us to be able to continue to act for you. The fact that there is an ongoing investigation into your complaint should not of itself cause any prejudice or disruption to any work we may continue to do for you.

If you wish to make a formal complaint, please contact Stephen Thorn, our Client Care partner. You can contact him at our Malton office. However should your complaint be about Stephen Thorn himself, then please contact George Knowles at our York office.

What will happen next?

1. Within two working days of our receipt of your complaint we will send you a letter acknowledging it and confirming the name and contact details of the person dealing with it. This person will normally be either Mr. Thorn or Mr. Knowles. The person dealing with your complaint will not be the person about whom your complaint is made.

2. We will also record your complaint in our central register of complaints and open a file for it so that a full record is kept.

3. We will immediately start to investigate your complaint.  In order to help us investigate it properly, we may need to ask you for more details or further explanation; we can arrange a face to face meeting if that would be helpful to you, or you can communicate with us by letter, telephone or email in whatever way you find most convenient.

4. In our letter acknowledging your complaint we will try to estimate the length of time that it will take to investigate it; the length of time needed will depend upon the size of the file and the complexity of the matter. We are allowed up to eight weeks in which to make our investigation and resolve your complaint before you may refer it to the Legal Ombudsman, but we will try to deal with it as quickly as possible and well within that time frame.

5. As soon as our investigation is complete, we will write to you to share our findings with you. If we find that we have provided poor service, we will acknowledge what went wrong and offer a suitable and proportionate remedy along with a full explanation of what happened. If on the other hand we come to the view that our service was reasonable, we will provide a full and clear explanation of how we reached that conclusion, showing the evidence on which it is based where possible. We are also very happy to arrange a face to face meeting or speak with you over the telephone to discuss our findings.

6. If you are unhappy with the conclusion reached by Mr. Knowles or Mr. Thorn, you can ask for the matter to be reviewed by the other one of them or else by our third partner Mrs. Samantha McAfee.

7. We hope that by these means we will be able to resolve your complaint to your complete satisfaction, in which case we will write to you to confirm how we have agreed with you to settle the matter.

8. If our internal complaints procedure is exhausted without being able to resolve the matter, then we will at that stage write to you with a reminder of your entitlement to refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman as the statutory complaints scheme for solicitors, and with contact details and time limits - although the Legal Ombudsman service is not available to most businesses (unless they would be defined as “micro-enterprises” by the EU), nor to charities or clubs with an annual income net of tax of more than £1 million nor to trustees of a trust with asset value of more than £1 million. However we will also write to you at that stage with details of an Alternative Dispute Resolution entity which is competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and we wish to use it.

THE LEGAL OMBUDSMAN

The Legal Ombudsman's website is at www.legalombudsman.org.uk and the contact email address is enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk ; the postal address is P O Box 6806 Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ and the telephone number is 0300 555 0333.

Before accepting a complaint for investigation the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first as they will not accept it until you have attempted to do so. Some time limits also apply. If you want to take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman you must do so

· within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint and

· no more than six years from the date of the act or omission about which you are complaining or no more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.

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