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Complaints Procedure

We want to give you the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service we have 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 as this stage. If you would like to make a formal complaint, then you can read our full complaints procedure, see below. Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case.

Complaints or Concerns

We are committed to providing a high-quality legal service to all our clients. When something goes wrong we need you to tell us about it. This will help us to improve our standards of service.

What happens if you are dissatisfied with the service you have received?

If you are not happy with the service you have received, please raise this first with the member of staff concerned or, if you do not feel able to discuss this with him or her, the person responsible for overall supervision of the work. If you are a client (or their representative), he or she will have been named in the client care letter we sent you at the outset of the work.      

If you do not feel able to speak to either of them, or you are not satisfied with their response, you should contact our Professional & Financial Risks Team, setting out full details of your concerns, or the issues you have.

Professional & Financial Risks, Ashfords LLP, Ashford House, Grenadier Road, Exeter, EX1 3LH

Tel: 01392 33 3535

professional&financialrisks@ashfords.co.uk

Internal Investigation

They will arrange for your complaint to be investigated in accordance with the procedure set out below.

  • Within two working days of contacting us, you will be sent an acknowledgement, which will tell you who will be investigating your complaint. The person investigating your complaint will not be someone who has been involved in the matter.
  • We will fully investigate your complaint and will aim to conclude our investigation, within 28 days of our acknowledgement or the date by which we have agreed with you the issues of concern if clarification is needed.
  • Our investigation will include a review of your file in relation to the issues you have complained about and we may, if we think it appropriate, invite you to a meeting to discuss your concerns. At the end of our investigation we will send you a detailed reply confirming the outcome of our investigation into your complaint.
  • If we are unable to conclude our investigation within 28 days, we will contact you to explain why and give you a revised date by which we hope to provide our substantive response.

Internal Review

  • If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of our internal investigation, you can request an internal review of our investigation by contacting our Professional & Financial Risks Team. Alternatively, you can ask the Legal Ombudsman to investigate.
  • If you want an internal review, you must request it within 14 days of the date of our substantive response, and explain why you believe that our initial decision was incorrect.
  • We will send you an acknowledgement within two working days of receiving your request for an internal review. We will aim to conclude our internal review and provide you with our decision within 28 days of this acknowledgment.

Who Can Complain?

Most complaints are likely to come from clients. However, others, including beneficiaries, third parties, other professionals and suppliers, may also complain to us.

Will I Be Charged?

You will not be charged for the investigation of your complaint.

What Resolution Can I Expect?

If we find evidence of poor service we will seek to provide an appropriate remedy. This might include:

  • An apology;
  • Compensation for loss suffered;
  • Compensation for inconvenience, distress or both;
  • Putting things right;
  • Reducing the bill or limiting fees.

If we find that there has been no poor service we will fully explain why we have come to this conclusion.

If you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint, you can ask the Legal Ombudsman to investigate.

Legal Ombudsman

The Legal Ombudsman (LeO) can investigate complaints from members of the public and very small businesses, charities, clubs and trusts.

The LeO will accept complaints about service issues where:

  • You have made a complaint and received a final response in the last six months, and
  • The issue you wish to complain about happened on, or after, the 6 October 2010* or

If the issue happened before 6 October 2010, you only became aware of it on or after 6 October 2010.

* The formal rules state that either the issue must have occurred in the last six years or the date of awareness must be within the last three years. However, the time limits will be extended gradually from 6 October 2010, the date the Legal Ombudsman opened for business.

Full details of the LeO Scheme can be obtained from:

Legal Ombudsman

PO Box 6806

Wolverhampton

WV1 9WJ

Tel: 0300 555 0333

www.legalombudsman.org.uk

Alternative complaints bodies such as ProMediate exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority can also 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

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