Blackfords LLP

Complaints policy

Our Complaints Procedure

Our commitment

We are committed to providing a high-quality legal service to all our clients. When something goes wrong, we need our clients to tell us about it. This will help improve our standards. Whenever possible, please raise any initial client care problems with the person acting on your case to give them the opportunity of resolving matters with you. Often, matters can be quickly resolved in this way.

If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you have received, or about the bill, please contact the relevant Head of Department or the Client Care Partner, Diana Payne who is based at our Croydon office at Hill House, 1 Mint Walk, Croydon CR0 1EA, telephone 020 8686 6232 or email diana.payne@blackfords.com.

What will happen next?

  1. We will acknowledge your complaint within seven days.
  2. We will conduct a full investigation and an independent review of your matter.
  3. We aim to respond in full within 28 days. However, if your complaint is of a more complex nature, we will require more time, but we will let you know when you will receive a full response.
  4. We will reply to you, usually in writing to tell you our views on your complaint and how we propose to resolve it, hopefully to your satisfaction.
  5. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome, or the way your complaint has been handled, you may write to Diana Payne who will make such further investigations as are necessary.
  6. We will inform you of the conclusions and any alternative proposals to resolve your complaint, usually within 28 days of this being referred to him. Under no circumstances will the above investigation take longer than 8 weeks.
  7. You may take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within 6 months of the expiry of the 8 week period or our definitive response in the meantime.

Legal Ombudsman

The Legal Ombudsman is an independent organisation, which is ultimately responsible to Parliament. The Legal Ombudsman deals with complaints about the legal profession. You must make any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within a certain period of time of the act or omission in the work which gave cause to the complaint arising.  In short, if you are unhappy with our final response to your complaint you have up to six months to take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. There are also two additional relevant time limits; The Legal Ombudsman will accept complaints up to six years from the date of act/omission, or three years from when you should have known about the complaint.

The Legal Ombudsman may:

  • Investigate the quality of professional service supplied by a solicitor to a client.
  • Investigate allegations that a solicitor has breached rules of professional conduct.
  • Express a view on whether a solicitor’s charges are fair and responsible.
  • Ensure that we have handled a complaint correctly

The Legal Ombudsman will not:

  • Determine whether a solicitor has been negligent.
  • Give legal advice or tell a solicitor how to handle a case.
  • Review the outcome of a court case.
  • Review a decision of the Legal Aid Agency (the body that regulates the provision of legal aid).

There are restrictions upon who may make complaint to The Legal Ombudsman.  Individuals and certain enterprises may do so but you are therefore referred to The Legal Ombudsman’s website, as below, for clarification. Before it will consider a complaint the Legal Ombudsman generally requires that the firm’s internal complaints procedure has been exhausted. If it is necessary to involve the Legal Ombudsman it may take up to six months from the end of the firm’s procedure; this can be checked at www.legalombudsman.org.uk, or by telephoning the Legal Ombudsman on 0300 555 0333. If the Legal Ombudsman is satisfied that the firm’s proposals for resolving a complaint are reasonable, it may decline to investigate further.

Contact details are as follows:

PO Box 6806
Wolverhampton
WV1 9WJ
Tel: 0300 555 0333
enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk
www.legalombudsman.org.uk

Complaints about your bill

The above complaints procedure also applies to complaints arising concerning our bill. There may also be a right to object to the bill by applying to the court for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974; and that if all, or part, of a bill remains unpaid, the Practice may be entitled to charge interest.

Raising concerns with our regulator

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) 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 find information about raising your concerns with the SRA at www.sra.org.uk in the ‘For the public’ section.

It is important to us that we provide services of the highest quality to all of our clients. We aim to ensure that any complaints that clients may have are identified and dealt with in accordance with this procedure.

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