Complaint handling policy

Complaints Handling Policy

1. Responsibility & Review
The COLP is our Complaints Handling Partner and is responsible for this policy and reviews it annually to verify its operation where necessary.
They also undertake an annual review of all complaints made in the previous 12 months to verify that the complaints’ procedure is working effectively and to consider whether any changes are required to our complaints’ handling procedures.

2. Our approach to complaints
We always want to give you the best possible service. However, we acknowledge that sometimes things can go wrong. So, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service provided to you then you should inform us immediately so that we can do our best to resolve the problem for you. We aim to deal with any complaints promptly, fairly, openly and effectively.

In the first instance it may be helpful to contact the individual who is working on your case to discuss any concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues at this stage.
However, if you would like to make a formal complaint then our full complaints handling procedure is set out below.

3. Our Complaints Partner & their Role
Our Complaints Handling Partner is Hind Ibrahim, although she may delegate the process of investigating and responding to a complaint, at least at the first stage of any investigation, but will retain oversight of the handling of all complaints.

The Complaints Handling Partner will ensure that:-
 all formal complaints are properly recorded centrally and investigated within the relevant time scales
 complaints are investigated promptly, fairly and free of charge
 appropriate redress is offered and any unsatisfactory procedures are corrected where required
 the procedure is tailored in response to the needs of our individual clients, especially those who are vulnerable

In conducting the investigation into any complaint, they will ensure that:-
 the complaint is reviewed with any staff member involved;
 the cause any problems of which the client has complained is identified
 the extent of any validity of a complaint is determined; and
 a decision is made as to how the complaint should be resolved

In the event that your complaint relates to any concerns relating to the conduct of Hind Ibrahim, then the complaint should be directed to and investigated by Zareena Mustafa.

4. How to make a complaint
A complaint can be made through a letter, telephone call, e-mail, and fax or in the course of a face to face conversation. However, in order to help us distinguish between any initial expression of concern that can be resolved informally, as opposed to something that you wish us to deal with as a formal complaint, we will ask you to put such a complaint in writing where possible. This will also enable us to be clear as to what the scope of the complaint is and put any concerns that you have raised to the relevant parties in the conduct of our investigation.

If you are not able to put your complaint in writing, this does not prevent you from making a formal complaint. However, we will seek to discuss with you and confirm that your complaint is a formal complaint to be dealt with under our complaints procedure and also to agree the scope of the complaint.

5. What falls under our complaints’ procedure?
You are entitled to make a complaint about an act or omission that relates to the services that we provide you during the conduct of your case.

For example, this could relate to concerns such as:-
 Frustration with perceived lack of progress in a case
 Concerns about delays in returning telephone calls, responding to correspondence
 Dissatisfaction with the way a case is being handled

However, issues of a very minor nature, for example, not returning a single non-urgent telephone call until the following day will not be recorded as a complaint – unless there is evidence of such a minor incident being part of a wider pattern.

6. Time Limit for Bringing a Complaint
We will only accept a complaint for investigation under this Complaints’ Procedure if the complaint is notified to us within one year from the date:-
 of the act or omission being complained about; or
 when the complainant should have realised that there was cause for complaint

7. Time Scale for Responding to Complaints
The following are our target times for dealing with various stages of the complaints process. We will endeavour to comply with these time scales when dealing with any complaint, but we will notify you if we are not able to for any reason.

Action Timescale
Acknowledge the complaint in writing and send a copy of the complaints’ procedure (if required)

Within 5 working days

If the complaints handling manager needs more information from you, request for you to provide further information in writing or (if necessary)
over by telephone or at a meeting

+ 2 working days

If there has been any telephone conversation or meeting, confirm the scope of the investigation to be carried out in writing

+ 3 working days

Investigate the issues + 3 weeks
Review and close the complaint Within 8 weeks of receiving the complaint

8. What does not fall under our complaints’ procedure?
Sometimes a complaint is submitted which is not a complaint which relates to the services provided that can be resolved under our complaints’ procedure, but is an assertion which amounts to an allegation of professional negligence.

All our staff are required to refer any concerns which might arise to an allegation of professional negligence to their supervisor and those supervisors are required to confirm any such matters to our Complaints’ Handling Partner. They will consider any complaints that potentially fall into this category and will decide, in conjunction with the firm’s professional indemnity insurers as to whether a response should be provided
under the terms of this complaints’ procedure. If it is decided that your matter cannot be addressed under our complaints’ procedure, you will be advised of the need to seek independent legal advice in relation to your concerns and to submit them to us formally in a letter of claim as required by the Pre-action Protocol for Professional Negligence Claims – a copy of which can be found at

Where a potential negligence claim is identified or where a client claims financial loss, compensation or threatens legal action, our Complaints’ Handling Partner will decide, in conjunction with our insurers, whether the matter should continue to be investigated under this policy or whether some other course of action should be followed. You will be informed in writing if there is any intention not to continue the investigation into your complaint under the terms of this policy.

9. What to do if we cannot resolve your complaint
If we are not able to resolve your complaint, then you may refer the matter to the Legal Ombudsman. They will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your case. 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 one year from the date of the act or omission being complained about or within one year from when you should have realised that there was cause for complaint. In addition, you must also refer your concerns to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint from us.

If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, the contact details are:-
Telephone: 0300 555 0333 (between 9.00 to 17.00)
Post: Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6167, Slough, SL1 0EH

10. What to do if you are unhappy with our behaviour?
In addition to the complaints’ procedure outlined above, we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and they can assist if you want to raise concerns about certain aspects of 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. The contact details for the SRA are:-
Telephone: 0370 606 2555

Post: Solicitors Regulation Authority, The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RN

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