Appendix A — Heald Nickinson Complaints Procedure
We are committed to providing a high-quality legal service to our clients. When something goes wrong, we need you to tell us about it. This will help us to sort out any mistakes or misunderstandings, and to improve our standards.
Please be assured that your complaint will be dealt with promptly, fairly and free of charge.
In most cases, an informal chat with the lawyer responsible for your matter will resolve your concerns.
If it does not, you can formalise your complaint or speak to someone other than the lawyer responsible for your matter. Our Compliance Officer for Legal Practice, Tony Struve, can record everything you are unhappy about and recommend the best solution for you. You can contact Tony at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What we need to know
To deal with your complaint correctly, it would be helpful when contacting us if you could provide the following information:
- Your name, contact details and preferred contact method
- File reference number
- Details of your concerns
- How you would like us to put things right.
What will happen next?
- If you telephone us, we will endeavour to resolve the issue in that call.
- If you email or write to us, or if your complaint cannot be resolved in a phone call, we will acknowledge receipt of your complaint in writing within two days of receiving it.
- We will then investigate your complaint. This will normally involve our Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (Tony Struve) reviewing your file and speaking to the member of staff who acted for you.
- Within 14 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter Tony will invite you to a meeting to discuss and resolve your complaint. You may choose to have the meeting in-person or by telephone.
- Within three days of the meeting, Tony will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions we have agreed with you.
- In any case he will send you adetailed written reply to your complaint, including his suggestions for resolving the matter, within 21 days of sending you the written acknowledgement of your complaint referred to in paragraph 1 above.
- At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, you should contact us again 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 reasoning.
What to do if we cannot resolve your complaint
- If you have exhausted our internal escalation process yet remain dissatisfied, or a period of eight weeks has expired since we acknowledged your complaint without our final response being received, you are entitled to refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. The Legal Ombudsman will look at the complaint independently and any investigation by them 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 the complaint with us in the first instance. We will always be happy to discuss your issues further, prior to you going down this route, if you wish to do so.
- For complaints about our service, including billing issues, you may contact the Legal Ombudsman via one of the methods below:
- Phone: 0300 5550333
- Email: email@example.com
- Post: Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV19 9WJ
- Any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within six months of the date of our final written response to your complaint. Other time limits to be aware of are:
- The Ombudsman will consider your complaint if you refer it on to them within either of the following: six years of the problem happening or three years from when you found out about it.
- The Ombudsman will not accept complaints where the act/ omission or the date of awareness was before 5 October 2010.
- Note that the Legal Ombudsman service cannot be used by businesses or most other organisations unless they are below certain size limits. Further details are available from the Legal Ombudsman.
What to do if you are unhappy with our behaviour
- The Solicitors Regulation Authority (‘SRA’) can help 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.
- Visit their website to see how you can raise your concerns with the SRA at: https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor/
What to do if your complaint relates to an insurance policy
- If your unresolved complaint relates to an insurance policy covering your case, you may contact the Financial Ombudsman Service:
- Phone: 0800 023 4567
- Online complaint forms available via their website:
- Post: Financial Ombudsman Service, Exchange Tower. Harbour Exchange. London. E14 9SR.
What to do if your complaint remains unresolved
- If a complaint cannot be resolved, you may also be able to ask for it to be referred to a process of alternative dispute resolution using a certified provider. We are not required to agree to such a request. In any case this is not available to businesses, only consumers. We will give you more information about that right if it becomes relevant.