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Our whole business is based on giving our clients an excellent standard of service. None of us is above criticism and if a client makes a complaint, we take that complaint seriously, review the file promptly and fairly and notify the client as soon as possible of the outcome, if necessary putting right anything that is wrong. Not only is that procedure in the client’s interest, but it could point the way to improving our service to clients in the future. Clients will not be charged for the time spent dealing with their complaints.

Sewell Mullings Logie

INFORMAL COMPLAINTS

You will already have been told in our Terms of Business or initial letter that you have a right to complain if we fall short of our declared standards of service.  Often complaints are most quickly dealt with by speaking to the fee earner or secretary involved.  If you would prefer to write an informal letter of complaint to the fee earner or secretary involved, please do so.

On receipt of an informal complaint:

  • The telephone conversation (if the complaint is not resolved within the call) or letter of complaint will be acknowledged as soon as possible.
  • The file will then be reviewed by the responsible fee earner and a detailed response will be made (generally within 7 working days of the original complaint being made).
  • More often the informal complaint can turn out to be a misunderstanding or difficulty in communication and put right straightaway.

If you still have a problem, ask to speak to the Head of Department handling your matter. We may, when appropriate, ask the Head of Department or Client Care and Designated Complaints Handler to speak to you.

Where a complaint cannot be resolved informally you may wish to make a formal complaint.

FORMAL COMPLAINTS

If you have tried the informal complaint procedure, or it is inappropriate to use it, you are welcome to write to our Client Care and Designated Complaints Handler who is Nicholas Parsons. He has overall responsibility for complaints and his role is to ensure that your complaint is dealt with seriously and investigated carefully.

Nicholas Parsons can be contacted at:
7 Dollar Street
Cirencester, GL7 2AS
Email: njwp@sml-law.co.uk

It would be helpful if you could put your complaint in writing; if you wish to speak to him please ring his secretary on 01285 649742.

On receipt of a formal complaint:

  • We will send an acknowledgement of the complaint within 4 working days and inform you who* is dealing with your complaint and how long it will be before you can expect a detailed response.
  • We will record your complaint in a separate Client Care file.
  • We will investigate your complaint carefully by reference to the file on the matter.
  • We will ask questions, if necessary, of you, the relevant fee earner, Head of Department and any other member of staff.
  • We will report our findings to you as soon as possible.
  • We will comply with the Solicitors Regulation Authority and Legal Ombudsman requirements to resolve your complaint within 8 weeks (we aim that this will be achieved in a shorter period).
    (* Generally your complaint will be dealt with personally by Nicholas Parsons but he may delegate the task sideways to another Partner for reasons of efficiency or particular expertise).

FORMAL COMPLAINTS

This is a free service set up by the Government through the Office of Legal Complaints with effect from 6th October 2010.  Their task is to resolve complaints about legal services supplied by lawyers.  They are independent of Government, the professions and you.  Their aim is to be fair and impartial and to resolve things as quickly as possible.  Their current stated aim is to start looking at complaints within 6 months, but aim to then resolve them within 3 months, unless it is more complex or a Legal Ombudsman’s decision is needed which will then take longer.

The Legal Ombudsman website explains the process at www.legalombudsman.org.uk, e-mail: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk or you can telephone 0300 555 0333 (calls will be recorded) or write to P.O. Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ.

To make a Complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, you have to:-

  • make a formal complaint to your lawyer or law firm first (see above)
  • allow your lawyer (in this case us as your Solicitors) 8 weeks to deal with your complaint
  • apply to the Legal Ombudsman within 6 months after receiving a final response from us
  • apply to the Legal Ombudsman within 6 years from when the problem occurred or 3 years from when you should reasonably have become aware of the problem

ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION

If we are not able to resolve your complaint and you do not wish to refer the matter to the Legal Ombudsman we will provide you with the contact details of an alternative resolution approved body which would be competent to deal with your complaint and will confirm whether we agree to use the scheme operated by that body.

SOLICITORS REGULATION AUTHORITY

Sewell Mullings Limited (trading as Sewell Mullings Logie) is authorised and regulated by the SRA.  If you have concerns about our following the Standards and Regulations of our profession, you may contact the SRA. Their contact details relating to complaints are here

https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/instructing/your-right-to-complain/

If you have any questions about our complaints procedure, please do not hesitate to ring our Client Care and Designated Complaints Handler, Nicholas Parsons (tel: 01285 649742)

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