It is important that those in positions of responsibility within Moerans are aware of anything which may have gone wrong during the course of a matter. For example the SRA Code of Conduct requires us to:
deal with clients’ complaints promptly, fairly, openly and effectively
inform clients if we discover any act or omission which could give rise to a claim by them against us
identify, monitor and manage risks, and take steps to address issues identified
report certain information to the SRA, including (amongst other things) “serious misconduct by any person or firm authorised by the SRA”.
However this is more than a professional responsibility. Being frank about such matters helps us to build the firm, by learning from mistakes or misunderstandings, improving our standards and retaining our reputation and the goodwill of our clients. This policy explains your obligations in these areas.
Our complaints procedure is below. It explains to clients how we will handle their concerns if they feel something has gone wrong. Whenever a client complains about our service, or about the bill, we must use that procedure. Even if a complaint is malicious or misconceived we must respond courteously and handle it effectively.
Accordingly, if a complaint is made by or on behalf of a client, notify our complaints partner, who is Ben Marks. He will then handle the matter, starting with sending the client a copy of our complaints procedure, and finishing with sending the client another copy of the information in paragraph 6 our complaints procedure.
Note that the definition of “complaint” in the SRA Code of Conduct is “an oral or written expression of dissatisfaction which alleges that the complainant has suffered or may suffer financial loss, distress, inconvenience or other detriment”. If you are not sure if a comment from a client amounts to a complaint, ask if they wish the matter to be handled under our complaints procedure.
Our Complaints Procedure
We are committed to providing a high-quality legal service to all our clients. When something goes wrong we need you to tell us about it. This will help us to improve our standards.
If you have a complaint, contact us with the details.
We will send you a letter acknowledging your complaint and asking you to confirm or explain the details set out. We will also let you know the name of the person who will be dealing with your complaint. You can expect to receive our letter within three working days of us receiving your complaint.
We will then start to investigate your complaint. This will normally involve the following steps.
- We will pass your complaint to Ben Marks, who is responsible for our client care matters. If Ben Marks was the fee earner who acted for you your complaint will be passed to our senior partner, Simon Shaffer.
- Ben/Simon will ask the member of staff who acted for you to respond to your complaint within seven working days.
- He will then examine their response to your concerns and will write to you with a detailed reply to your complaint. This will include our suggestions for resolving the matter. He will do this within fourteen working days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.
If you are not happy with the response and proposed resolution you will be invited to attend a meeting with either Ben or Simon and discuss, and hopefully, resolve your complaint. This will be done within fourteen working days of your agreement to a meeting.
Within three days of the meeting either Ben or Simon will write to you to confirm what took place at the meeting and to confirm any solutions he has agreed with you.
At this stage, if you are not satisfied you should contact us again. We will then arrange to review our decision. This will happen in one of the following ways.
- Another partner in the firm will review the decision.
- We will ask our local Law Society or another local firm of solicitors to review your complaint.
- We will invite you to agree independent mediation.
Once the way forward is determined and agreed we will let you know who will be undertaking the review and how long this process will take.
We will write to you within fourteen working days of receiving the results of the review confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons.
If you are still not satisfied you can contact the Legal Ombudsman at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ about your complaint.
Any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint.
If we have to change any of the timescales above we will let you know and explain why.