Complaints Handling Procedure
This Complaints Handling Procedure tells you how we will deal with your complaint and how long it is likely to take. It also provides important information about what you can do if you are not happy with the way in which we are dealing with your complaint, or about our final decision. Our Complaints Policy contains further information about what you can expect from us when you make a complaint.
We value all our clients and take complaints very seriously; the complaint will be handled speedily and make it our top priority. We understand that the longer the complaint is unresolved, the more irritated you may become ‐ and understandably so. All our staff are made aware of our procedures for handling complaints and should be open-minded, positive and understand if you need to make a complaint.
Designated Complaints Handler
If you have any concerns about our service, our work, or our charges, in the first incident we ask that you will raise any issues with the member of our staff undertaking your work, either verbally or in writing. If you have any issues or would rather not speak to the person handing your matter about your complaint, or you remain unhappy after speaking to them about it, please contact the Complaints Handler, B H Mohammed. If he is unavailable, or if the complaint is about him, then another senior person will take the role of complaints handler.
We hope that most problems or misunderstandings will be resolved at this stage. If you wish to make a complaint, please contact our Designated Complaints Handler Mr B H Mohammed, Principal Solicitor.
You can write to him at 302 Stratford Road, Sparkhill, Birmingham, B11 1AA or send an email to info@bh‑mohammed.com
If Mr B H Mohammed is unavailable for any reason, for example if he is away from the office for a week or more on the date the complaint is received, the complaint will be dealt with in his absence by appointed senior Solicitor.
Step One: Acknowledging your complaint
Within five working days of staff receiving a complaint, will record this in our Complaints Register and open a separate file for the complaint. A complete file note explaining the details of the complaint is made, what was said by both parties and the action taken (form BHM.9). One copy of the file note will be retained on your file and a second copy will be forwarded to the Complaints Handling partner (Mr B H Mohammed). Within two working days we will also send you a letter acknowledging your complaint and ask you to confirm or explain the details if you have not already done so. A copy of this procedure will be enclosed with the letter.
Step Two: investigating your Complaint
Within ten working days of receiving your complaint, The Complaints Handling Partner or delegate will then investigate your complaint. This will normally involve reviewing your matter file and speaking to the member of staff acting on your behalf and send you a letter telling you how we propose to deal with your complaint Examples of what we might say in this letter are as follows:
- If your complaint is straightforward, we might make suggestions as to how we can put things right or we may offer you some form of redress;
- If your complaint is more complicated, we might ask you to confirm, explain or clarify any issues;
- We may ask to meet with you to discuss things face-to-face and we would hope to be in a position to meet with you no longer than fifteen working days after first receiving your complaint. If you would prefer not to meet, or if we cannot arrange this within an agreeable timescale, we will write to you fully setting out our views on the situation and making suggestions as to how we can put things right, or asking you to confirm, explain or clarify any issues. Within three working days of any meeting, we will write to you again to confirm what took place and to confirm any offer of redress that we have made.
- Whichever form our investigation takes; we will aim to give you our final decision within six weeks of receiving your complaint (or sooner if possible).
Step Three: Appealing Against Our Final Decision
If you are not satisfied with our final decision, please let us know and we will review our decision again. We will let you know the result of any appeal within five working days of receiving your appeal.
Step four: The legal Ombudsman
The legal ombudsman provides another route in relation to complaints. The wesbite is here: https://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/
When we have notified you of the outcome of your complaint, we will also inform you that if you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the complaint that you have 6 months within which to ask the legal Ombudsman to look into your complaint further.
The 6-month time limit starts from the time at which we confirm that you have 6 months within which to contact the legal Ombudsman. If we fail to confirm the 6 months' time limit when notifying you of the outcome of the complaint, then you have 6 years from the date of the matter giving rise to the complaint to contact the legal Ombudsman.
Also, please note that if we have not resolved your complaint to your satisfaction within 8 weeks of making the complaint to us, you can contact the legal Ombudsman. However please also note that you the legal Ombudsman can deal with your complaint before the 8 weeks is up if
- the legal Ombudsman decides that there are exceptional reasons why the Legal Ombudsman should consider your complaint sooner, or without you having to use our internal Complaints Handling Procedure first; or
- The legal Ombudsman considers that your complaint cannot be resolved using our internal Complaints Handling Procedure because the relationship between you and us has broken down irretrievably.
If you wish to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman you must be one of the following:
- An individual;
- A micro-enterprise as defined in European Recommendation 2003/361/EC of 6 May 2003 (broadly, an enterprise with fewer than 10 staff and a turnover or balance sheet value not exceeding €2 million):
- A charity with an annual income less than £1 million;
- A charity that has an annual income, net of tax, of less than £1 million;
- A club/association/organisation, the affairs of which are managed by its members/a committee/a committee of its members, that has an annual income, net of tax, of less than £1 million;
- A trustee of a trust with an asset value of less than £1 million; or
- A personal representative or beneficiary of the estate of a person who, before they died, had not referred the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.
If you are not, you should be aware that you can only obtain redress by using our Complaints Handling Procedure or by mediation or arbitration, or by taking action through the Courts.
Legal Ombudsman Contact Details:
Address: PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ
Telephone: 0300 555 0333
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Alternative complaints bodies, such as ProMediate UK Ltd, Brow Farm, Top Road, Frodsham, Cheshire WA6 6SP, 01928 732455, www.promediate.co.uk exist and are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and this firm wish to use such a scheme. We do not agree to use the scheme operated by ProMediate UK Ltd as we believe the Legal Ombudsman is better equipped to resolve complaints against legal firms.
Whilst it is free to use the Legal Ombudsman service, there is a fee for using an alternative complaints handling body. Given the cost and the fact that mediation is not binding on you or us we see no benefit in this and it will be unusual for us to agree to a reference to such a body.
Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA)
In the event that your complaint relates to anything other than poor service, then you may choose to report a solicitor or the firm to the SRA. The SRA works with lawyers, non-lawyers and firms to ensure that they comply with the SRA principles. You may use the SRA website sra.org.uk or you can post a report to Solicitors Regulatory Authority, The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RN.
The Complaints Handling Partner reviews complaints records regularly. It is our policy to address any underlying problems and, in this way, use complaints data to prevent future difficulties.
Our staff are regularly made aware of general complaints issues to remind them of how to handle complaints from clients and to raise awareness of issues that generate complaints.