Complaints Policy

SOUTHERNS SOLICITORS
COMPLAINTS POLICY AND HANDLING PROCEDURE

We treat all complaints about our services extremely seriously and value feedback from those who deal with us so that we can continue to improve and meet our client’s expectations. We regularly review all complaints made about the firm which we find useful when examining the operational procedures of the firm and can, if appropriate, lead to changes in our policies and procedures.

We are proud that we hold the accreditations Lexcel and Investors in People as our clients and staff are important to us.

POLICY

We aim to provide a high quality legal service to all our clients. When something goes wrong, we need you to tell us about it.

OUR COMMITMENT

As such we are committed to dealing with complaints about the services we provide fully and fairly. We welcome your feedback as it helps us identify areas for improvement, ensuring our commitment to quality is not compromised. All our staff are trained in how to deal with complaints and are provided with regular guidance on how to follow the relevant procedures. This ensures all complaints are dealt with efficiently, ensuring consistency and compliance at all times.

WHAT CONSTITUTES A COMPLAINT

Any expression of dissatisfaction in any form from any source is identified as a possible complaint.
Instances of formal complaints could include:-
Anyone notifying us either verbally or in writing, that a complaint is being made
Any dissatisfaction expressed concerning the way a matter is being or has been dealt with.
Issues concerning bills and payments
The member of staff judges the matter to be sufficiently serious to warrant recording as a formal complaint
The client bypasses the member of staff and takes the complaint directly to any other member of staff or to the Partner responsible for dealing with complaints.

COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE

In the first instance, please raised your concerns with the person handling your matter. If you still have concerns, please contact Lorraine Harrison, Operations and Compliance Manager. She can be contacted on 01282 422711 or by email lharrison@southernslaw.co.uk . She is based at Mackenzie House 66/68 Bank Parade Burnley Lancashire BB11 1UB.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT

  1. We will log your complaint in our central complaints file
  2. We will send you a letter acknowledging receipt of your complaint within 5 days of receiving it
  3. We will then investigate your complaint. This will involve passing your complaint to Lorraine Harrison who will review your matter file and speak to the member of staff who acted for you
  4. We will then either:-
    (a) Invite you to a meeting to discuss and hopefully resolve your complaint. We will do this within 14 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter. Within 5 days of the meeting we will then write to you to confirm what took place along with any solutions agreed OR
    (b) Send you a detailed response to your complaint to include suggestions for resolving the matter. We will do this within 21 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.
  5. At this stage if you are still not satisfied you should contact us again and we will arrange for a Partner within the firm who is unconnected with your matter to review the decision.
  6. We will contact you in 14 days of receiving your request for review confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons.
  7. If you are still not satisfied you can then contact the Legal Ombudsman at PO Box 6806 Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ, Tel: 0300 555 0333 or enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk about your complaint. Any complaint made to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within 6 months of the date of our final decision on your complaint.

The Legal Ombudsman’s time limit for accepting a complaint is 6 years from the date of the act/omission and 3 years from when the complainant should have known about the complaint.

These rules also apply to prospective clients who could reasonably have expected to receive a service or who were unreasonably offered a service they did not want.

In addition to your right to object to our bill by making a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, you may also have the right to apply to the court for assessment of our bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. Please note that the Legal Ombudsman may not deal with your complaint regarding your bill if you have applied to the court for assessment of that bill.

If all or part of our bill remains unpaid whilst you dispute it, the firm may be entitled to charge interest.