If something goes wrong, then we need you to tell us about it
We are committed to providing a high-quality legal service to all our clients and we are pleased to say that the feedback from our clients suggests that we are successful in achieving our aim. However the Legal Ombudsman has asked that we make all clients aware of our practices’ complaints proceedings procedure which is contained in this document. We hope that you will not have cause to complain but if something goes wrong, then we need you to tell us about it.
If you have a complaint, please contact us as soon as possible with the details.
1. Complaints made by telephone
You may wish to make a complaint in writing and if so please follow the procedure in paragraph 2 below. However, if you would rather speak on the telephone about your complaint, then please arrange a telephone discussion with Joanna Hawkins, Managing Director of Hawkins Family Law on 01908 262680. The Managing Director will make a note of the details of your complaint and what you would like done about it. She will discuss your concerns with you and aim to resolve them. If the matter is resolved she will record the outcome, check that you are satisfied with the outcome and record that you are satisfied. You may also wish to record the telephone discussion in writing and your call may be recorded for monitoring and training purposes. The Managing Director will in any case write to you to confirm the outcome.
If your complaint is not resolved on the telephone, or you would prefer to detail; your concerns in writing then you will be invited to write to us about it within 14 days so that it can be investigated formally.
2. Complaints made in writing
Please provide the following details:
- your name and address
- whom you are complaining about
- the details of your complaint
- what you would like to have done about it.
Please address your letter to the Joanna Hawkins, Hawkins Family Law, The Old Court House, 19 Market Square, Stony Stratford., MK11 1BE. We will, where possible, acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 7 days of receipt and provide you with details of how your complaint will be dealt with.
The Managing Director will then investigate your complaint and reply to you within 28 days. If she finds that she is not going to be able to reply for any reason within 28 days she will set a new date for reply and inform you. The Managing Director’s reply will set out:
- The nature and scope of her investigation
- Her conclusion on each complaint and the basis for her conclusion
- If she finds that you are justified in your complaint, her proposals for resolving the complaint.
There may be occasions where the Managing Director in conjunction with her colleagues decides that your complaint should be investigated by a panel or another solicitor. If such a decision is made then the head of the panel or the nominated solicitor will reply to you with the information listed above.
All conversations and documents relating to the complaint will be treated as confidential and will be disclosed only to the extent that is necessary. Disclosure will be to the Managing Director, members of our management committee and anyone involved in the complaint and its investigation. Such people will include the individual fee earner or member of staff that you complained about and the person who investigated the complaint if that is not the Managing Director. The Solicitors Regulation Authority is entitled to inspect the documents and seek information about the complaint when discharging its auditing and monitoring functions.
As part of our commitment to client care we will keep a written record of the complaint and retain all documents and correspondence for a period of 6 years.
You should be aware that our management committee inspects the complaints handling procedure regularly and if appropriate will make changes to the procedure with a view to improving services on an on-going basis.
If you continue to remain dissatisfied, you are able to raise your complaint with The Legal Ombudsman (LeO) who can be contacted as follows: PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ, Tel: 0300 5550333, Web: www.legalombudsman.org.uk . Please note that there are time limits for submission of a complaint to LeO. LeO will accept a complaint made within 6 years of the act or omission giving rise to the complaint, or within 3 years of you being reasonably aware of the complaint, this time limit being applicable after 6th October 2010. Where the act or omission took place prior to 6th October 2010, the complaint must be raised with LeO within 3 years of when you should have been reasonably aware of the complaint. In addition you must raise the complaint within 6 months of the final response under our internal complaints procedure mentioned above.
You may also have a right to object to an invoice if you consider the charges to be excessive. Further details are referred to on the reverse of our printed invoices, and within our terms of business provided at the outset.