If a client is unhappy about any aspect of our service or about our fees, we ask that our client writes in the first instance to our Compliance Officer for Legal Practice, Catriona Watt, as soon as is practicable of the issue coming to the attention of our client.
Complaints will be addressed promptly, fairly and effectively in accordance with the procedure set out below. We will acknowledge our client’s concerns within 7 business days. We will then write to the client to explain how the issue is to be addressed, investigate the circumstances, request any further information which may be required and then reply in writing (usually within 21 business days of the date of the acknowledgement letter) inviting our client to outline the remedy being sought or offering a remedy or redress as appropriate. A client can also request a meeting. There is no charge for the time taken by us to discuss a client’s complaint.
We will consider a complaint from a client for not more than 8 weeks before issuing a substantive response to our client. If our client is unhappy with the outcome of our investigation, our client is entitled to refer the issue to the Legal Ombudsman. The office of the Legal Ombudsman may be contacted by telephone (0300 555 0333) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or post (P.O. Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ) – see www.legalombudsman.org.uk.
The Legal Ombudsman will not consider complaints which fall within one or more of the following categories:
- complaints made more than 6 months after the end of our complaints process if we have provided full information about our client’s right to take a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman at that time: or
- complaints where the act or omission about which the complaint is made occurred before 6 October 2010 if the client was aware of the problem before that date; or
- complaints where the act or omission about which the complaint is made occurred more than 6 years before the complaint is brought to the attention of the Legal Ombudsman; or
- complaints where the client became aware of the problem more than 3 years before the complaint is brought to the attention of the Legal Ombudsman; or
- complaints made by (1) businesses (other than micro-enterprises), (2) charities or clubs with an annual income of more than £1m, or (3) trustees of trusts with an asset value of more than £1m.
Clients are entitled to object to a fee note by applying to the High Court for an assessment of the fee note under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. Within one month from the delivery of a fee note, clients are entitled to an assessment of our costs by the Court. Thereafter, the Court has discretion to allow an assessment of our costs on application by our client. The Court will need to be satisfied that special circumstances apply if (1) more than 12 months have elapsed since the delivery of our fee note or (2) our fee note has been paid or (3) judgment has been obtained by us for recovery of the costs referred to in our fee note. The Court may impose conditions when permitting an assessment and can order an applicant for an assessment to pay costs. The Legal Ombudsman may not consider a complaint about a bill in relation to which a client has applied to the Court for assessment.
The Legal Ombudsman, SRA and the courts provide redress mechanisms if a complaint is upheld.
Compliance Officer for Legal Practice contact details:
Fox & Partners Solicitors LLP
4-6 Throgmorton Avenue, London EC2N 2DL