The complaints policy for clients exists to ensure any complaints raised by our clients are dealt with promptly, fairly, and free of charge. Part of our vision is to be ‘…our clients’ trusted advisors…’ however we acknowledge that not everything always goes according to plan.
We are committed to providing a high quality legal service to all our clients and to have an outstanding reputation in the legal and other professions. When something goes wrong we would ask you to tell us about it, as this will help us to improve our standards.
Our Quality & Risk Department monitor any trends or issues to ensure that systems are improved if necessary. This information is available to our partners who will be able to discuss this with you within client meetings if appropriate.
Internally we monitor concerns from our clients before they become complaints to minimise any inconvenience to you.
How do you make a complaint?
You can contact us in writing (by letter or email) or by telephone. In the first instance, it may be helpful to contact the person dealing with your matter, who will do their best to resolve your concerns. If you do not feel able to discuss your concerns with them, please contact the person responsible for the overall supervision of your matter, who will be named in the client care letter we sent you at the beginning of your matter.
If you do not feel able to raise your concerns with either of these people, or you are dissatisfied with their response, please contact Kirsten Blohm, our Complaints Partner who has overall responsibility for complaints and whose contact details are as follows:
Complaints Partner: Kirsten Blohm
- Post: Hempsons, City Tower, Piccadilly Plaza, Manchester M1 4BT
- Telephone: 0161 228 0011
To help us understand your complaint and in order that we do not miss anything, please tell us:
- Your full name and contact details;
- What you think we have got wrong;
- How you would like your complaint to be resolved; and
- Your file reference number (if you have it).
If you require any help in making your complaint, we will try to help you.
What will happen next?
Hopefully the person with conduct of your matter or the person with overall supervision will be able to deal with any issues you raise to your satisfaction. If that is not possible and you wish to escalate it, our Complaints Partner will acknowledge receipt of your complaint with you within two working days of receiving it, enclosing a copy of this procedure.
We will investigate your complaint. This will usually involve:
- Reviewing your complaint;
- Discussing your complaint with the member of staff who acted for you;
- Reviewing your file(s) and other relevant documents;
We may also need to ask you for further information or documents. If so, we will ask you to provide the information within a specific timeframe.
We will update you on the progress of your complaint at appropriate times.
We may also, if appropriate, invite you to a meeting to discuss your complaint. You do not have to agree to attend if you do not wish to or are unable to do so. We will be happy to discuss the matter with you by telephone, in person or other electronic means such as video conference as may be appropriate.
Within 3 days of any such discussion between you and our Complaints Partner, we will confirm in writing the matters discussed and any solution agreed with you.
We will write to you at the end of our investigation to tell you what we have done and what we propose to do to resolve your complaint. Where possible, we aim to do this within 21 days of our Complaints Partner’s first letter acknowledging your complaint unless we have agreed a later date to come back to you (for example; in order to facilitate a discussion)).
If, once you have received our written communication of our investigation of your complaint you are still not satisfied you can contact us again and request a further review. We will then arrange to review our decision. This will happen in the following way:
- We will arrange for another Partner in the firm who has not been involved in your complaint to review it.
- They will do this within 10 working days of you contacting us to request a review.
We will write to you within 10 working days of receiving your request for a review, confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons.
If we need to change any of the timescales above, we will let you know and explain why.
What happens if you don’t agree with our views on the complaint?
We have eight weeks to consider your complaint. If we have not resolved it within this timeframe then you may be able to complain to the Legal Ombudsman. This applies if you are an individual, a business with fewer than 10 employees with a turnover or assets not exceeding a certain threshold, a charity or trust with a net income of less that £1m, or if you fall within certain other categories (you can find out more from the Legal Ombudsman). The Legal Ombudsman will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your matter.
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:
- within six months of receiving a final response from us to your complaint; and
- no more than six years from the date of act/omission; or
- no more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, please contact them as below:
- Call 0300 555 0333 between 9am to 5pm.
- Email: email@example.com.
- Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
Alternative Dispute Resolution
ADR bodies exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme such as Small Claims Mediation. Hempsons have, however, chosen not to adopt an ADR process. If, therefore, you wish to complain further, you should contact the Legal Ombudsman (subject to the eligibility criteria mentioned generally above within this Policy).
If we are unable to resolve your complaint and it relates to a contract we entered into online or by other electronic means, you may also be able to submit your complaint to an approved alternative dispute resolution provider in the UK via the EU ODR platform’.
The ODR platform is an interactive website offering a single point of entry for disputes between consumers and traders relating to online contracts. The ODR platform is available to consumer clients only, ie where you have instructed us for purposes outside your trade, business, craft or profession.
The website address for the ODR platform is: http://ec.europa.eu/odr.
What do you do if you are unhappy or concerned about our professional conduct?
The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help you if you are concerned about our professional conduct. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic.
If you would like more information about the Solicitors Regulation Authority, please contact them as below:
- Email: https://www.sra.org.uk/home/contact-us/
- Call: 0370 606 2555 between 9am and 5pm
- The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham B1 1RN
What will dealing with my complaint cost?
Hempsons will not charge you for handling your complaint.
Please note that if we have issued a bill for work done on the matter, and all or some of the bill is not paid, we may be entitled to charge interest on the amount outstanding. This is explained in our client care documentation which includes both client care letters and / or relevant terms and conditions of the provision of legal services to you which were provided at the beginning of the retainer.
The Legal Ombudsman service is free of charge.
The ODR platform itself is free to use, but the use of any form of ADR entity to which any complaint is transmitted may charge for its service. An ADR entity is responsible for informing all parties of the cost of its dispute resolution procedure, if applicable.