Complaints Handling

Our Complaints Handling Procedure at Kingsbury Ellis LLP

 

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: Adel Buckingham, Partner and Complaints Handling Officer on 0203 963 7850 or by email at ab@kingsburyellis.co.uk or by post to Adel Buckingham, Kingsbury Ellis Solicitors, 307 Neasden Lane, London, NW10 1QR.

If the complaint relates to Adel Buckingham, then please contact Andros Anastasiou, Partner, on 0203 963 7850 or by email at aa@kingsburyellis.co.uk or by post to Andros Anastasiou, Kingsbury Ellis Solicitors, 307 Neasden Lane, London, NW10 1QR.

We are committed to high quality legal advice and client care and are keen to resolve any concerns as soon as possible and in order to do this, will follow our complaints handling procedure.

We will endeavour to handle your complaint promptly, fairly and free of charge.

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 five 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 ten 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 could be a meeting, video conference call or telephone call and the client’s preference will be taken into account along as well as how best the matter may be dealt with.   This process of engagement will take place within ten working days of our concluding the investigation of the matter.  Following the meeting or call, our Complaints Handling Representative shall write to the client within five working days of the meeting or call to confirm the discussion and the solution agreed upon.

If the client does not want to or is unable to attend such a meeting or engage in a discussion (or the meeting or call is not necessary), we will be happy to send the client a detailed, written response, including the proposed solution, within fifteen working days of our concluding the investigation of the matter.

Step Four:

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 they will arrange for another Partner or senior member of staff who is unconnected with the matter to review the decision.   They will write to the client within ten working 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 five: Other avenues

 

Clients must always try complaining to us first. In most cases they will not be able to take their complaint further without allowing us the opportunity to put things right.

 

Legal Ombudsman

 

We are permitted a period 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 be contacted 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

Further Information

For further information about our complaints handling procedures, please do not hesitate to contact Adel Buckingham, Kingsbury Ellis Solicitors, 307 Neasden Lane, London, NW10 1QR.

Remedies Open to the Client

The members will consider the complaint, what response should be given and what remedies are appropriate in all the circumstances. If the complaint is rejected as invalid or unjustified, the members will ensure that the client is given sufficient information to justify the rejection of the complaint. If a complaint is upheld, the members will consider the following remedies and advise the client. Remedies may include:

  • An apology from the practice and an assurance that the matter will not happen again;
  • Immediate action to resolve the nature of the complaint;
  • A reduction in the bill (if appropriate);
  • Abatement of the bill in total (if appropriate);
  • A change in the fee earner with conduct of the case (if possible);
  • Compensation for inconvenience, distress or both (if appropriate);
  • Notification to the client of their right to see another solicitor and obtain advice as to whether the practice has been negligent;
  • Notification to the client of their right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman if the complaint arises from a breach of the practice’s regulatory principles.

Where it becomes clear that the complaint has arisen as a result of unsatisfactory procedure(s), the members will ensure that they are reviewed, and corrective actions are taken to ensure that such problems do not recur in the future.

The aim of the Complaints Procedure is to resolve the complaint to the client’s satisfaction enabling the fee earner with conduct of the case to continue with the file. However, in some cases the lawyer / client relationship may have broken down completely. Where this is the case, and it is not possible for another fee earner to take the case over, then the retainer may be terminated, or the Representation Order transferred. This will only take place for very good reason and with reasonable notice.

Procedure Monitoring, Review and Analysis

The members will conduct an annual documented review of the complaints handling procedures, to verify that they are in effective operation across the practice. This will include an analysis all complaints received by the practice. If the analysis demonstrates there is need for a change or improvements in procedures, this will be reviewed to ensure clients receive an improved service. A central record of any complaints made, and their ultimate resolution is also kept. The practice will also consider what trends (if any) are apparent, and consider what action is necessary to address such trends.