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 at this stage If you would like to make a formal complaint, then you can read our full complaints procedure below. Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case.
A complaint is any oral or written expression of displeasure with our people, business or the services we provide which has caused the complainant to suffer financial loss, distress, inconvenience or other detriment. Internal grievances are dealt with in individual contracts.
We are required to operate a complaints handling procedure. All clients are informed in their client care letter of the firm’s complaints procedure, and they are informed who to approach in the event of any problem with the service provided. All members of the staff must be aware of the procedure.
Complaints to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)
The SRA deal with cases where firms or those they regulate have breached the SRA Principles.
Most of the time, complaints about solicitors are about poor service, and therefore should be sent to the Legal Ombudsman. If the Legal Ombudsman thinks your case involves a breach of SRA Principles, they will refer your case to the SRA. Likewise, if you report a solicitor for poor service, the SRA will refer you to the Legal Ombudsman.
The SRA do not have the power to award compensation for poor service, or to reduce or refund your legal fees.
The SRA can 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 that breach the SRA Principles.
When reporting, please
- set out your concerns clearly
- identify individuals you consider responsible
- attach any evidence you have in support
You can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
What do to if we cannot resolve your complaint
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 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 six months of receiving a final response to your complaint AND
- No more than six years from the date of act/omission; or
- No more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, please contact them.
Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
S & S Legis Client Care & Complaints Procedure
Semina Koutiva is the Partner responsible for client care and complaints handling (the Complaints Manager).
When a client contacts us, Semina and/or Georgia must assess whether the firm has the resources and most importantly the skills for a matter before agreeing or consenting to accept instructions. If the decision is negative, then the client must be notified promptly so not to delay matters any further.
If we accept the instructions, then we will provide the client with our client engagement letter which informs the client in writing of their right to complain and how complaints can be made. Our relationship with the client is a contractual one with legal and conduct obligations. Georgia and Semina will ensure that their decision does not discriminate unlawfully.
Our Complaints Procedure
If a client has a grievance, the first step is to offer a sincere apology. Our clients’ opinions are important and if they feel they have cause for a complaint then it is certain that we could have handled the situation better.
Secondly, we deal with your grievance quickly and efficiently. An example of this would be if a client feels we have not kept them up to date on a matter well enough. After offering an apology, we give them a full update and explain when we will next contact them. We ensure that this next contact happens as planned, and endeavour to ensure this continues throughout the retainer.
If a client suggests they have a complaint, or states that they would like to make a complaint, they will be provided with our Client Complaint Form which is easy for our clients to use and understand.
What Will Happen Next
If the complaint is not resolved directly with the fee earner, then the procedure is as follows:
If the fee earner is the Complaints Manager then Georgia Koutiva, Partner at S&S Legis LLP, will be the person to contact.
The Complaints Manager will open a separate file for the complaint and record the details in the Firm’s Complaint Management Form. This form will be kept at the front of the file. This will be done by the end of the day following receipt of the Client Complaint Form.
The Complaints Manager will then investigate the complaint, by asking the relevant members of staff to reply to the complaint or provide further details.
If necessary, the Complaints Manager will meet with the relevant members of staff to discuss the situation. The Complaints Manager will acknowledge the complaint within five working days from the date of receipt of the Client Complaint Form and will invite the complainant to a meeting to discuss the complaint and attempt to resolve it.
In any case the Firm will send a response to the complainant within eight weeks from the date of the complaint.
If the complainant is not able or does not want to attend a meeting, the Complaints Manager will explain in writing, and if possible also by telephone, the outcome of their investigations and a suggestion for resolving the complaint.
If a meeting is held, the Complaints Manager will write to the complainant within two working days of the meeting, confirming the discussions that took place and any solutions that have been agreed.
A letter sent to the complainant at this stage will contain details of what to do if the complainant is still unhappy. The complainant will be asked to write a ‘secondary complaint letter’ to the firm explaining why they are unhappy with the conclusion.
The firm will then arrange for a review of the Complaints Manager’s decision. This will happen in one of the following ways:
Another Principal or senior member of staff will review the complaint, and if necessary, reinvestigate the details of the complaint.
The local Law Society or another firm of solicitors will be asked to review the complaint. The Complaints Manager will ask the complainant to agree to independent mediation.
The Complaints Manager will write to the complainant within five working days of the conclusion of the review, detailing the outcome of the review, and what the firm’s final position is with regards to the complaint. This letter will contain details of the Legal Ombudsman, who should be contacted if the complainant is still not satisfied.
These details are:
Phone: 0300 555 0333 (Calls to the Legal Ombudsman cost the same as a normal 01 or 02 landline number, even from a mobile phone, and are recorded for training and monitoring purposes).
If you are calling from overseas, please telephone +44 121 245 3050.
Address: PO BOX 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ.
We will keep a record of all complaints. If one fee earner has the majority of complaints, then the supervisor must have a meeting with him/her to discuss the ways forward and how to improve.
Revised February 2021
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