We want to give you the best possible service and pride ourselves in being consistently recognised for succeeding in that aim. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service Clarke Kiernan has provided then you should inform us immediately, so that we can do our best to resolve the problem.

In the first instance it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your case to discuss your concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues at this stage. If that does not resolve the problem, or is inappropriate you could try raising the issue with the person’s supervisor who would normally be their department head. Details of the supervisor on each case are provided with our initial retainer documents.

Sometimes issues cannot be resolved in this way and if you would like to make a formal complaint, then you can read our full complaints procedure on request.

Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help you if you are concerned about our behaviour. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic.

You can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

We are committed to delivering high quality legal advice and client care. The quality of service to you is very important to us.  However, on occasion, mistakes are made or you may feel that the level of service was not what you had expected and it is important that, on those rare occasions, you feel there is way to make your feelings heard.  We want to hear from you if you feel this way because it helps us, in the short term to restore your confidence in us and, in the longer term, to improve our service levels.

We aim to resolve all complaints quickly and fairly so that you are not left waiting for a resolution because it is important that we can get matters back on track to get the outcome you need in your case.

 

Our complaints procedure is set out below

Definition

We define a complaint as any expression of client dissatisfaction which is not resolved at the initial stage (Stage 1).

In the initial stage, if you are unhappy about any aspect of the service or about the bill, please contact the fee-earner detailed in your initial letter, so that we can do our best to resolve the problem.

The fee-earner concerned will respond to your complaint and may if necessary refer the matter to their supervisor as it may be better for it to be resolved by the Supervisor within the department communicating with you. If that does not resolve the problem then you can ask for the matter to be referred to the Complaints partner. You should make this request in writing . (Stage 2).

The Complaints Partner will record your complaint in the firm’s Complaints Record held on our case management system and your own file. 

The Complaints Partner will write to you to acknowledge receipt of your complaint and if you have not already had it a copy of the Complaints Leaflet for the practice.

If you have not already provided sufficient details we may ask you to write in to clarify your complaint so that we ensure we fully understand your concerns.

Once we have received the full details of your complaint the Complaints Partner will investigate it.

The Complaints Partner will consider the evidence and opinions provided and speak to any staff who have are the subject of the complaint or ask them to provide him with a written response.  They will then prepare a response for you.  The target for completion of stage 2  is 14  working days from the date of receipt of the stage 2 complaint, although it can take longer (if this is the case we will let you know the time span for resolving matters with you).

In preparing the response the Complaints Partner will analyse the complaint, identify the cause of any problem, offer you  any appropriate redress and consider whether it is necessary to correct any unsatisfactory procedure.  You may also be offered the opportunity to meet to discuss the investigation.

If a meeting is declined or is for some reason impractical we will write to you again in an endeavour to resolve the complaint to our mutual satisfaction within 7 working days of your decision to decline a meeting.

If, at a meeting or from your written reply to our detailed written response, you remain dissatisfied with what we have said and how we propose resolving your complaint, we can arrange for our decision to be reviewed.  This may happen in one of the following ways: –

Our own review of our handling of your complaint and why you are dissatisfied with our decision, we will complete this review where possible within 7 working days of your letter of dissatisfaction or

If you wish, by arranging for someone else in the firm who is entirely unconnected with the complaint to review how it was handled and the decision taken.  In this instance the we will respond to you within 14 working days where possible.

Please note that we do have up to 8 weeks to investigate and deal with your complaint but you will see from our procedure that we aim to process any complaints  more quickly than that.  If you remain dissatisfied with the response, you can refer the matter to the Legal Ombudsman to investigate your complaint (Stage 3)

We are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and complaints and redress mechanisms are provided through the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Legal Ombudsman.

All firms of solicitors are obliged to attempt to resolve problems that clients may have with the service provided. It is therefore important that you immediately raise your concerns with us.

If we are unable to resolve any such concerns to your satisfaction within 8 weeks then  you are entitled to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman – https://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/ – P.O. Box 6806 Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ.

The Legal Ombudsman investigates complaints about service issues with lawyers. Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint.

Complaints about a client’s rights under the General Data Protection Regulation must be submitted to the Information Commissioner’s Office – ico.org.uk

The SRA can be written to at : The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RN

Any disputes or legal issue arising from our Client Care and Terms of Business will be determined by the law of England & Wales and considered exclusively by the English & Welsh courts.

What do to if we cannot resolve your complaint

The Legal Ombudsman can help you if we are unable to resolve your complaint ourselves. They will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your case.

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
· No more than six years from the date of act/omission; or
· No more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, please contact them.

Contact details

Visit: www.legalombudsman.org.uk

Call: 0300 555 0333 between 9am to 5pm.

Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk