Stage 1 – internal procedure

Please raise your complaint in the first place with the person dealing with your work. Please put what you want to say in writing and head your letter or written communication with these words: “Letter of Complaint Stage One” so that it is clear that you wish to invoke the internal complaints procedure. The person dealing with your work will acknowledge receipt of your letter in 7 days and attempt to resolve matters to your satisfaction and will reply fully within a further 14 days.

Stage 2 – internal procedure

If you feel that your complaint has not been adequately addressed, please send a written communication to our director, Mr Nicholas Mason at our Newcastle office.

Again, please head the letter or written communication with the words: “Letter of Complaint Stage Two”.

Mr Mason will acknowledge receipt of the letter within 3 days and call for the file and for a report from the person dealing with your file. He will investigate the matter and respond fully within 21 days.

This is our final response under the internal procedure and you may then use the external procedure mentioned below. Our final response will include:-

  • A statement that you may go to the Legal Ombudsman if still dissatisfied
  • A warning that you have 12 months to go to the Legal Ombudsman
  • Details of the address of the Legal Ombudsman

Your complaint can be resolved by providing an explanation, or by providing an apology where appropriate or by reducing some or all of our fees in cases where costs have been incurred which arose by reason of the subject matter of the complaint. Where inconvenience or loss has occurred we may offer to pay some compensation. We may offer to put things right at our cost or take some action to protect your interests.

Depending on the subject matter of your complaint we may need to involve our insurer at this stage. If we do so we will simply write to inform you that matters are to be handled by our insurer.

All work on your file will cease (except for steps to deal with an emergency situation) and it will be your responsibility to instruct other solicitors. We will copy the file and release it to your appointed solicitors.

You may still be liable for some fees which we may ask you to pay before the file is released though we may be prepared to accept a written promise from your appointed solicitors to pay the fees at a later stage.

Stage 3 – external procedure/Legal Ombudsman

If you are still unhappy with our response which you do not feel has dealt adequately with your complaint, you may at that stage send your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman whose address is Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ (Tel: 0300 555 0333 / email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk). The Legal Ombudsman will try to resolve the complaint by agreement and will make a decision which is legally binding on both sides. If it takes us more then 8 weeks to respond to your complaint, you may then go directly to the Legal Ombudsman.

There is a time limit of 12 months for you to send your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman commencing from the date of our final response.

You may also have the right to apply to the court for an assessment of a bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. Please note that if all or part of a bill remains unpaid we may be entitled to charge interest.

There are different places to find a remedy if you have a complaint. Please refer to the table below.