Complaints Handling Procedure

We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

We are committed to high-quality legal advice and client care and aim to offer all our clients an efficient and effective service.

However, if our clients would like to discuss how the service to them could be improved, the level of their bill, or should there be any aspect of our service with which they are not satisfied, we ask them to please contact the person in our firm responsible for complaints handling: Paul Singleton, Partner on 01034 206850, pjs@stilwellsingleton.co.uk or in writing to 110 Maison Dieu Road, Dover, Kent CT16 1RT.

We are keen to resolve any concerns as soon as possible and in order to do this, will follow our complaints handling procedure.

Our complaints procedure is as follows:

Step One:

If they have not already done so, we ask our clients to let us know the full nature of the problem.

Step Two:

Our Complaints Handling Representative will write to the client acknowledging their complaint within three working days.  In this letter, we shall confirm what happens next.

Step Three:

Our Complaints Handling Representative shall then investigate the matter by reviewing the matter file and speaking to the member of staff concerned within five working days of acknowledging receipt of the complaint.  If for some reason, the matter cannot be investigated in this timeframe, then we will write to the client notifying them of this together with the reason why and giving a revised timescale.

Once the investigation has been completed, our Complaints Handling Representative shall invite the client to a meeting to discuss the issue(s) they have raised and hopefully resolve the complaint.  This meeting will take place within fourteen days of sending the acknowledgement letter to the client.  Following the meeting, our Complaints Handling Representative shall write to the client within five working days of the meeting to confirm the discussion and the solution agreed upon.

Step Four:

If the client does not want to or is unable to attend such a meeting (or the meeting is not necessary), we will be happy to send the client a detailed, written response, including the proposed solution, within fourteen working days of sending the letter acknowledging receipt of the complaint.

Step Five:

If the client is satisfied with our response following the above steps, that will be the end of the matter.  However, if the client is not satisfied, they will be invited to contact our Complaints Handling Representative again and he will arrange for another Partner to review the decision.   They will write to the client within fourteen days of receiving the request with confirmation of the firm’s final position in relation to the complaint, outlining the reasons and any final redress that is offered.

Step Six: Other avenues

Legal Ombudsman

 We are permitted a minimum of eight weeks to consider the complaint. If for any reason we are unable to resolve the problem between us within that timeframe, then our clients are advised that they may ask the Legal Ombudsman to consider the complaint.

Clients are free to refer any complaint about our work, fees or level of service but there are some conditions and time limits.  Please be aware that any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within six months of the client having received a final written response from us about their complaint.   Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within six years of the act or omission about which the client is complaining occurring or within three years from when the client should have known about or become aware that there were grounds for complaint.  The Legal Ombudsman will not accept complaints where the act or date of awareness was before 6 October 2010.

For further information, please contact the Legal Ombudsman on 0300 555 0333 or visit www.legalombudsman.org.uk. The Legal Ombudsman may also be contacted via post at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ.

Solicitors Regulation Authority

If someone thinks a solicitor might be dishonest or you have concerns about their ethics or integrity, they have the right to notify our regulator, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).  There are no time limits for making a report but there are limits on what the SRA will consider. Please note that the SRA is not able to deal with issues of poor service (complaints of this nature should instead be referred to the Legal Ombudsman).  For further information about the SRA’s role, please contact the SRA or visit:

https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor.page#report

 

Consumer Online Dispute Resolution (ODR)

If we enter into a contract with you and/or you become a client of our firm by electronic means (such as by email or online) then, in addition to any rights of redress you may have through the Legal Ombudsman,
you may be entitled to use an EU Online Dispute Resolution platform to assist with any complaint or dispute you may have about our services.

This online platform can be found at ec.europa.eu/odr.

We also have an email address you may contact in this regard and that is enquiries@stilwellsingleton.co.uk

Further Information

For further information about our complaints handling procedures, please do not hesitate to contact Paul Singleton on 01304 206850 or by post to 110 Maison Dieu Road, Dover, Kent CT16 1RT.

 

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