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    Humphreys & Co. Client Concerns (Complaints) Policy and Procedure

    Version: 1.7.22

    1. If you have a concern about any aspect of our work, we need you to tell us about it. This will help us to improve our standards, to avoid misunderstandings and to maintain our relationship with you.
    1. We would normally expect to acknowledge a complaint within 3 working days of receipt and to respond to it within 15 working days of receipt. If we have to change either of those timescales (this may be because we need more information from you or because a staff-member is away or because the case papers are substantial or for some other reason), we will let you know and explain why.
    1. We are committed to providing a high-quality, professional legal service to all our clients. This includes a fair and speedy response to clients’ complaints when such are occasionally expressed.
    1. Our written terms of engagement set out the approach to be taken under our agreement with you on this matter to any concern (complaint) that you have about our conduct of a matter on your behalf in terms:

    With whom should I raise difficulties?

    • We aim to act in our clients’ interests with professionalism and skill at all times and we are confident that we will do so in this case. However, if there should be any aspect of our service which you consider is not up to standard, which could include concerns about any of our invoices delivered to you, you should raise the difficulty in the first instance with the person handling your case day to day, confirming this by email, and only then with a senior conveyancing solicitor. If the matter cannot be resolved between us, one of the partners will be asked to give their view on the issue as objectively as they can. If still unresolved the matter should be raised with Client Concerns Solicitor Philip Siddons. Any concerns raised will be dealt with in accordance with our written complaints procedure, a copy of which is available on request.
    • Ultimately, any client who has instructed a firm of solicitors has a right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman (legalombudsman.org.uk) at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ at the conclusion of our complaints process. Normally you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within 6 months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint.  Further any client may apply to the Court for an assessment of their solicitors’ invoice pursuant to the terms of Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.  Note though that the Legal Ombudsman may not deal with a complaint in respect of an invoice if such an application has been made to the Court.
    1. If you have a complaint which has not been resolved by our staff-member or senior solicitor or partner in the matter, or the Managing Partner, it is then open to you to contact our Client Concerns Senior Solicitor Philip Siddons about it.
    1. We will investigate and respond to your complaint. Where we consider it appropriate to do so, we will also suggest a way to resolve it.
    1. We may need to ask you for more information as part of the investigation process.
    1. We will send you details of our conclusions, with reasons. There will be opportunities to review these if you so wish.
    1. If at the end of this process you are not satisfied with our conclusions, it is then open to you to contact the Legal Ombudsman at Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, WolverhamptonWV1 9WJ about your complaint. Any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within 6 months of the date of our notice to you of our final conclusions on your complaint but if you were to need further information, it is open to you to contact the Legal Ombudsman on 0300 555 0333 or at legalombudsman.org.uk.
    1. You can also e-mail the Legal Ombudsman at enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk or telephone them on 0300 555 0333 or +44 121 245 3050 if calling from overseas. For further information you should access the Legal Ombudsman’s website legalombudsman.org.uk.
    1. Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within 6 months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint or within 6 years of the act or omission about which you are complaining occurring or if outside of this period, within 3 years of when you should reasonably have been aware of it.
    1. Note though that the Legal Ombudsman may not deal with a complaint in respect of an invoice if an application has been made to the Court for an assessment of our invoice pursuant to the terms of Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.
    1. It is also possible for a complaint to be made direct to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (the SRA).
    1. The SRA work with solicitors, firms, other types of lawyers and non-lawyers to make sure that we comply with their principles, to make sure we behave independently, fairly and with integrity to best serve the interest of our client and the public interest.
    1. The SRA do not deal with issues of alleged poor service. If your complaint is in relation to poor service you would need to exhaust our internal complaints procedure. If you are then still not satisfied you have (as above) a right to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.
    1. The SRA deals with cases where firms, or those who are regulated, are alleged to have breached SRA Principles. You should report the matter directly to the SRA if you think we or anyone regulated by the SRA has breached an SRA Principle.
    1. There are 7 Principles which all people and law firms regulated by the SRA must meet. This means that they must act:
    • in a way that upholds the constitutional principle of law, and the proper administration of justice;
    • in a way that uphold public trust and confidence in the solicitors’ profession and in legal services provided by authorised persons;
    • with independence;
    • with honesty;
    • with integrity;
    • in a way that encourages equality, diversity and inclusion;
    • in the best interests of each client.
    1. You can also report a firm or someone regulated by the SRA for non-payment of professional fees (such as agent or expert fees) if you have a County Court judgment in respect of the fee, and the judgment relates to the practice in connection with providing a legal service.
    1. To make a report against a solicitor or firm click on https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor/, which will enable you to download/print the SRA Report Form and also have the relevant details of where to send your report.
    1. The SRA will aim to acknowledge all initial reports of information within 20-30 working days. Their acknowledgement will include: thanking you for providing them with the information and it will also confirm how they will handle your information. Should the SRA need to contact you again, it may be for you to provide further information to either take action or where you may be required to act as a witness or to provide a witness statement.
    1. For more information on the SRA’s approach to handling information that you send to them and about different regulatory outcomes, click on the above link.

    Humphreys & Co.
    14 King Street
    Bristol
    BS1 4EF
    Tel: 0117 929 2662
    Fax: 0117 929 2722
    Email: lawyers@humphreys.co.uk