Complaints

Complaints Policy

Here at Adam Bernard Solicitors, we are committed to providing an excellent standard of service to our clients. We value feedback from clients greatly because it helps us to continually improve our service. If you do not feel that you are receiving excellent client service, or that something could be improved, please do tell us about it. If we have fallen short of the high standards we have set for ourselves then we would like the opportunity to put things right.

How to give feedback

You can give feedback directly to the lawyer dealing with your matter or otherwise the individual named within your client care documentation who has the overall conduct of your matter. However, if the lawyer dealing or their supervisor cannot resolve your concern informally, or if the issue is of such a serious or sensitive nature that you do not feel comfortable raising it with them, please feel welcome to raise your concerns with our Complaints Handler

How to make a formal complaint under this policy

Stage 1:

In the first instance, you should contact the lawyer responsible of the matter in question or your case supervisor (as named within your client care letter). If your discussions with your lawyer/supervisor do not resolve the matter satisfactorily, you should put your complaint in writing to our dedicated complaints mailbox or by way of post.

Stage 2:

If the lawyer responsible for your matter or your case supervision (as named within your client care letter is unable to resolve your complaint or you otherwise deem your complaint to urgent or inappropriate to raise with us, you may contact our Complaints Handler. In order for us to investigate and provide a thorough response to your concerns, we will need to form a good understanding of the issues. We would welcome hearing from you by email or by post with a brief explanation of:

  1. How you would prefer to be contacted about your complaint going forward.
  2. Details of why you are dissatisfied with the service provided
  3. The lawyer in your engagement letter; and
  4. Whether you have completed Stage 1
  5. Your desired outcome from the complaint

By Email:

complaints@adambernards.co.uk

By Post:

FAO: The Complaints Handler/Manager

Adam Bernard Solicitors

25 Barking Road

East Ham

E6 1PW

Stage 3:

If we are unable to resolve the complaint with you then you can have the complaint independently looked at by the Legal Ombudsman. Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. Time limits apply to the service, so if you do wish to refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman;

No more than one year from the date of the act or omission being complained about; or

No more than one year from the date when you should have realised that there was cause for complaint; and

Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint from the firm.

You can contact the Legal Ombudsman, or find further information about who can use their service and when, via https://www.legalombudsman.org.uk or the LeO can be contacted by telephone (0300 555 0333 between 10am to 4pm). by email at enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk or by post (The Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6167, Slough, SL1 0EH).

Stage 1: 

You must raise the complaint with your lawyer / the person with the overall conduct of your matter.  

Within 6 months of the end of your matter or otherwise, within 6 months of you becoming aware of the circumstances that your complaint is about: 

Stage 2:  

You raise your complaint with the firm’s Complaints Handler.  

After stage 1 (unless you feel that the matter is sensitive or that it must be bought to the firm’s immediate attention) 

 

We will formally acknowledge your complaint.  

Within 7 working days.  

We will investigate your complaint; this may include inviting you for a meeting or otherwise requesting further evidence from you.  

 

We will provide you with a final response to the issues you have raised.  

Usually within 8 weeks of your complaint being received by us although we may require further time to investigate should the issues raised be unclear. 

Stage 3: 

If you are unsatisfied with our final response, you may raise your complaint with the Legal Ombudsman.  

Usually within 6 months of our final response to you.  

Complaints FAQ’s:

Our terms of business provide that our invoices remain payable in accordance with the dates stipulated on the applicable fee agreement regardless of the investigation of any complaint.

However, please be assured that if the outcome of any complaint investigation concludes that any adjustment or reduction in costs should be made, any reimbursement will be paid promptly at that time.

We will aim to conclude our investigation and provide our Final Response as quickly as possible. Although we will always aim for sooner, the process may take up to eight weeks from receipt of your complaint. In exceptional circumstances it may be necessary to extend these timescales. If this occurs, we will let you know in writing and will try to agree any variations with you first. Please refer to the above schedule of stages for more information as to the timelines and stages.

We regret any dissatisfaction which our clients experience and, if our investigation concludes that our service has fallen below our usual high standards, we will not hesitate to apologise. We may also make any proposals that we consider appropriate to resolve or improve your situation, and will take steps internally to ensure that any problems that you have experienced will not reoccur. We will ask you to let us know whether we have succeeded in resolving your concerns, or if you remain dissatisfied.

If you are complaining about our bill, in addition to referring your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, you may be entitled to ask the court to assess your costs under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. However, be aware that if you have done so, the Legal Ombudsman may not be able to consider a complaint about the same issues.

The Legal Ombudsman service considers complaints about the quality of legal services that clients’ receive. In the unlikely event that you have more serious concerns that a solicitor or the firm have been involved in professional misconduct then it may be appropriate for you to refer this to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

We do not anticipate any such problems arising and would ask that you notify the matter supervisor straight away if you have any such concerns. You can find out more about the Solicitors Regulation Authority, including their contact details and the Standards and Regulations that govern the conduct of solicitors and law firms, on their website: www.sra.org.uk.

Other ADR services providers exist that are competent to deal with complaints in the legal sector, including ProMediate. However, Adam Bernard Solicitors believes that the Legal Ombudsman offers our clients the most appropriate forum to seek resolution of their concerns. Therefore we have not adopted an alternative ADR procedure and do not agree to use another ADR organisation.