Our complaints handling procedure

Your complaint

If you think that we have not resolved the 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. His contact details are roger.bull@burges-salmon.com and Burges Salmon LLP, One Glass Wharf, Bristol, BS2 0ZX.

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. We will always endeavour to respond to your complaint within eight weeks of receipt of your complaint.

Understanding

We want to ensure that we fully understand your complaint. Therefore, it may be necessary or appropriate to take any 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 the 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 our Managing Partner, Roger Bull, who will arrange for an independent investigation to be carried out on his behalf. The investigator will usually be another lawyer in the firm. They will review your files carefully and speak to the lawyer who undertook the work for you and/or the Matter Partner responsible for managing your matter. Our Managing Partner 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.

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.

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.

If you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint using our internal complaints handling procedure, you may be eligible to refer it to the Legal Ombudsman. The Legal Ombudsman only deals with complaints from the following:

  • 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 deal with complaints can be found on the Legal Ombudsman website

The contact details for the Legal Ombudsman are:

Legal Ombudsman
PO Box 6806
Wolverhampton
WV1 9WJ
Telephone: 0300 5550333 between 9am to 5pm
Email 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 law firms in England and Wales.

The SRA sets the Principles and Code of Conduct that those it regulates have to comply with. It deals with cases where firms or those it regulates have breached the SRA Principles.

You can raise concerns of such breaches with the Solicitors Regulation Authority on the SRA's website.