This procedure applies to clients of the Firm.

If you are not a client of the Firm, please refer to the heading ‘Third Party Complaints’ below.

Your Complaint

If you think that we have not resolved an issue or problem satisfactorily in discussion with the lawyer undertaking the work for you or the Matter Partner, you should set out your complaint in writing to the Firm’s Client Care Partner. Our Client Care Partner is the Managing Partner, Roger Bull, whose contact details are Roger.Bull@burges-salmon.com and Burges Salmon LLP, One Glass Wharf, Bristol, BS2 0ZX. 

For matters involving advice given by lawyers in our Edinburgh office, or by other lawyers advising on matters reserved to Scotland (“Scottish legal advice”), you should set out your complaint in writing to the Firm’s Client Relations Manager, Euan Bremner, whose contact details are Euan.Bremner@burges-salmon.com and Burges Salmon LLP, One Glass Wharf, Bristol, BS2 0ZX.

For matters involving trade mark advice given by our trade mark attorneys in the Republic of Ireland, you should set out your complaint in writing to Roger Bull (the Firm’s Client Care Partner and a Director of Burges Salmon IP Ireland Limited) whose contact details are above.

Your complaint will be recorded in our central register.

Acknowledgement

We aim to resolve complaints as soon as possible and we shall endeavour to acknowledge your complaint within two working days of receipt. Our acknowledgement shall explain the next steps and the likely timescale for sending you our written response to your complaint. 

Understanding

We want to ensure that we fully understand your concerns. Therefore, it may be necessary or appropriate to take some or all of the following steps: 1) ask you to detail your complaint in writing; 2) for us to write to you to clarify our understanding of your complaint and the outcome you may be seeking; 3) have a meeting with you to hear the details of your complaint. This will be a decision taken by us having regard to the nature of your complaint and in consultation with you. If a meeting does take place, we will write to you to confirm the outcome of the meeting.

Investigation

Your complaint is overseen by the Firm’s Client Care Partner or, for matters involving Scottish legal advice, our Client Relations Manager, who will arrange for an independent investigation to be carried out on their behalf. The investigator will usually be a Risk and Regulatory lawyer in the Firm. They will review your file/s carefully and speak to the lawyer who undertook the work for you and/or the Matter Partner responsible for managing your matter. Our Client Care Partner or Client Relations Manager will then review the investigator's findings personally.

Response

Our response will be in writing and will usually take the form of a letter although this may be sent to you by email only. If you would prefer to receive correspondence by alternative means, please let us know. Our response will set out our decision following the investigation and how we reached it.

For matters involving England and Wales legal advice, we will endeavour to provide our written response to your complaint within 56 days from receipt of your complaint and for matters involving Scottish legal advice within 28 days of our letter of acknowledgement, subject to the scope and extent of the matter complained of.

Remedies

If we believe that you have grounds for a complaint, we will discuss with you the remedies that may be appropriate. These may include engaging a different lawyer on your matter, changing methods of working, or a financial remedy.

We hope that, even after a complaint, you will wish to continue to instruct us. However, we understand that there may be situations where the relationship between us has deteriorated to an extent that this is not possible.

Charges

You will not be charged for the complaints handling process.

Further Recourse: England & Wales

The Legal Ombudsman

If you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint using our Complaints Handling Procedure, you may be eligible to refer it to the Legal Ombudsman. The Legal Ombudsman is an independent and impartial scheme that seeks to resolve complaints by clients about the service they have received from their lawyer.

The Legal Ombudsman only deals with complaints from the following clients:

  • An individual/consumer;
  • A business/enterprise with less than ten employees and turnover or assets not exceeding €2 million;
  • A charity with a net annual income of less than £1 million;
  • A club/association/organisation whose affairs are managed by its members/a committee and which has a net annual income of less than £1 million;
  • A trustee of a trust that had an asset value of less than £1 million;
  • A personal representative or beneficiary of the estate of a person who, before they died, had not referred the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.

More information about how the Legal Ombudsman deals with complaints can be found at www.legalombudsman.org.uk

The contact details are:

Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ, Telephone: 0300 555 0333, E-mail address: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

You must refer a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receipt of our final written response addressing your complaint. We will inform you when we issue our final written response. The Legal Ombudsman will accept complaints up to six years from the date of the alleged act or omission by us about which you are complaining (or if outside this period, within three years of the time when you should reasonably have known there was a cause for complaint).

As set out in our Terms of Business, you have a right to complain or challenge an invoice. However, the Legal Ombudsman may not consider a complaint about a bill if you have applied to the court for an assessment of the invoice.

Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)

The SRA is a regulatory body within the legal profession, regulating solicitors and those who work in law firms in England and Wales.

Through its Standards and Regulations, the SRA sets the professional rules that those it regulates have to comply with. It deals with cases where firms or those it regulates have breached the SRA Principles.

Anyone can raise concerns of such breaches with the SRA at: https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor.page

Further Recourse: Scotland

Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC)

For matters involving Scottish legal advice, if you do not consider that your complaint is adequately resolved by our Client Relations Manager, you may submit a complaint to the SLCC. The SLCC decides if a complaint relates to the service provided or the conduct of a solicitor and whether the SLCC or the Law Society of Scotland (or both) should investigate the matter.

The SLCC operates strict time limits for accepting complaints depending on the nature of your complaint. More information about the applicable time limits and details of how the SLCC deals with complaints can be found at https://www.scottishlegalcomplaints.org.uk/

The contact details are:

Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, 10-14 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3EG, Telephone: 0131 201 2130, E-mail address: enquiries@scottishlegalcomplaints.org.uk

Third Party Complaints

For matters involving England and Wales legal advice, you can raise concerns about our work in accordance with the paragraph entitled ‘Your Complaint’ above, but the rest of our Complaints Handling Procedure will not apply to your complaint. We shall nonetheless endeavour to deal with any concerns you may raise promptly, fairly and free of charge. Please note that you will not be able to refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman as the Legal Ombudsman is unable to investigate complaints about someone else’s legal provider.

For matters involving Scottish legal advice, you can raise concerns about our work in accordance with the paragraph entitled ‘Your Complaint’ above and we can respond only in so far that this does not breach our obligations to maintain our client’s confidentiality. If you do not consider that your complaint is adequately addressed by our Client Relations Manager, you may submit a complaint to the SLCC. You should refer to https://www.scottishlegalcomplaints.org.uk/ for details on how to make a complaint and the relevant time limits within which to do so.