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Complaints Procedure

We are committed to providing a high-quality legal service. We acknowledge that we may not always get it right, so if something has gone wrong, including in relation to our charges, we need you to tell us.  This will help us to improve standards of service.

 

How do I make a complaint?

You can contact us in writing, by letter or email. 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.

If you do not feel able to raise your concerns with that person, or you are unsatisfied with their response, please contact Carolyn Beal, our Complaints Partner. Her contact details are:


Swinburne Maddison LLP
Venture House
Aykley Heads Business Centre
Durham
DH1 5TS

Email: cb@swinburnemaddison.co.uk

 

Please note that we do not accept complaints via fax, through our website or through social media.

 

To help us to understand your complaint, and in order that we do not miss anything, please tell us:

  • your full name and contact details;
  • what you think we have got wrong;
  • what you hope to achieve as a result of your complaint; and
  • your file reference number (if you have it).

If you require any help in making your complaint we will try to help you.

 

What will happen next?

We will send you a letter acknowledging receipt of your complaint within two working days, enclosing a copy of this procedure.

We will investigate your complaint. This will normally involve reviewing your file and speaking to the member of staff who has acted for you.

We may need to ask you for further information or documents. If so, we will ask you to provide the information within a specific period of time.

We will update you on the progress of your complaint at appropriate times.

We may also, if appropriate, invite you to a meeting to discuss your complaint. You do not have to attend if you do not wish to or if you are unable to. We will be happy to discuss the matter by telephone, if necessary.

We will write to you at the end of our investigation to tell you what we have done and what we propose to do to resolve your complaint.  Where possible, we will aim to do this within 21 days of the date of our letter of acknowledgement.       

If you are unsatisfied with the response, you should contact us again within 7 days and we will arrange for another Partner to review the decision.

We will write to you within 14 days of receiving your request for a review, confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons.

 

What if I am not satisfied with the outcome?

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 matter.

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 6 months of receiving a final response to your complaint; and
  • no more than 6 years from the date of act/omissions;
  • no more than 3 years from when you should have reasonably known there was cause for complaint.

 

If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, please contact them using the following details:

Visit: www.legalombudsman.org.uk
Call: 0300 555 0333 between 9am and 5pm
Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk
Post: Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ

 

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) bodies exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme, e.g.: Ombudsman Services, ProMediate or Small Claims Mediation. We have however, chosen not to adopt an ADR process. Therefore, if you wish to complain further, you should contact the Legal Ombudsman as above.

 

What to do if you are unhappy with our behaviour?

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

Visit their website to see how you can raise your concerns with the Solicitor Regulation Authority at www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor

 

What will it cost?

We will not charge you for handling your complaint.

Please note that if we have issued a bill for work done on the matter, and all or some of the bill is not paid, we may be entitled to charge interest on the amount standing.

The Legal Ombudsman service is free of charge.