Complaints Procedure

OUR COMPLAINTS POLICY AND PROCEDURE

We want to give you the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy with the service we have provided to you or you have any concerns then you should inform us immediately so that we can do our best to resolve the problem for you. We ask that you contact the lawyer dealing with your matter in the first instance.

If still not resolved to your satisfaction then please contact our Complaints Partner, Chris Andrews, by telephone on 01579 347600, email chris.andrews@coodes.co.uk or by post to 10 Windsor Place, Liskeard, PL14 4BH. Please bear in mind that Mr Andrews will not be able to comment in detail until his investigations are complete and that it may be preferable for you to put your concerns in writing so that there are no misunderstandings.   A hard copy of this complaint handling procedure is available on request.

Receipt of your complaint:

On receipt of your complaint we will:

  1. Aim to send you a letter acknowledging your complaint within two days, and if appropriate we will ask you to clarify or explain the complaint further.
  2. Record your complaint in our central register.
  3. Then or on receipt of the further information if requested, investigate your complaint, examine the relevant file and speak with members of staff as appropriate.
  4. Thereafter write, telephone or arrange a meeting to discuss and hopefully resolve your complaint or to seek further clarification from you. We aim to respond to you within fourteen days of our acknowledgement letter, but please bear in mind that in some cases our investigations may take longer. (If, at that stage, you are still not satisfied, please let us know and we will arrange for a Senior Partner or if more appropriate, another partner in the firm who has not been involved in your complaint, to review the position).
  5. Write to you again after receiving your request for a review, setting out our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons. We will also give you the address of the Legal Ombudsman. If you remain dissatisfied, you may contact them about your complaint but we very much hope that will not be the case.

Whilst we are committed to being a progressive and efficient provider of legal services to all our clients, occasionally mistakes are made and on some occasions it proves difficult to meet our clients’ expectations. We hope to learn from our mistakes and correct them if we can. If there has been any misunderstanding we hope to identify how that has happened and to adjust our procedures to avoid a recurrence. We will usually be able to accept responsibility if we have caused any avoidable inconvenience or costs, but if a financial loss has been suffered as a consequence of our actions or omissions we will need to consider whether that should be a matter for direct compensation or whether it is a claim which should be dealt with by our insurers, and sometimes it may be necessary for us to obtain the consent of our insurers before we can admit liability.

If we cannot resolve your complaint:

If we are unable to resolve your complaint ourselves, The Legal Ombudsman can help you. They will look at your complaint independently and this will not affect how we handle your case.

Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first and they allow us eight weeks to consider your complaint and respond to you although we aim to provide a response within 14 days. Please note that there are time restrictions for you to do this. You should contact the Ombudsman:

  • within 6 months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint or
  • no later than 6 years from the act or omission or
  • 3 years from the date you should have reasonably known there was cause for complaint.

The Legal Ombudsman will not accept complaints where the act or date of awareness was before 6 October 2010.

A complainant to the Legal Ombudsman must be one of the following:

  • an individual
  • 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)
  • charity with an annual income less than £1 million;
  • club, association or society with an annual income less than £1 million;
  • trustee of a trust with a net asset value less than £1 million; or a personal representative or the residuary beneficiaries of an estate where a person with a complaint died before referring it to the Legal Ombudsman.

If you do not fall into any of these categories, 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.

You have a right to challenge any invoice for our charges that we send to you by using the firm’s complaints procedure.

You may be entitled to have our charges reviewed by a court by applying for an assessment under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. You should note that the Legal Ombudsman may not deal with a complaint about an invoice if you have applied to a court.

We charge interest on the outstanding amount of this invoice in accordance with article 5 of the Solicitors’ (Non-Contentious Business) Remuneration Order 2009. Interest will be charged at the rate payable on judgment debts from one month after the date of delivery of the invoice.

The Legal Ombudsman contact details are as follows:

Solicitors Regulation Authority:

The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help you, if you are concerned about our behaviour. If you feel that we may have been dishonest or treated you unfairly because of your age, disability or other characteristic, then please refer to its website: http://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor.page

Online Dispute Resolution (ODR):

If you are a client with whom we have made a contract online or by other electronic means, you may be entitled to submit your complaint to an EU online dispute resolution service to assist with any contractual dispute you may have with us. Should you wish to do so that service can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/odr