Our Handling of Complaints Procedure

The Solicitors Regulation Authority Code of Conduct requires that all Firms of Solicitors have a procedure for handling clients’ complaints or complaints from prospective clients and that the clients are notified there is a procedure at the outset of our acting for you, i.e., not simply if or when a complaint arises.

If at any time you are unhappy about the level of service that is being provided to you, or the way in which your affairs are being dealt with then please tell us. It is preferable for your initial concern or complaint to be expressed to the Solicitor or Licensed Conveyancer having conduct of your case. Your concern or complaint can be put in writing or made on the telephone, or you can make an appointment with the person having the conduct of your matter and you will not be charged for the time spent by us in discussing your concern or complaint. If you wish to complain in writing we can supply you with a form where you can state what action you wish to be taken to resolve your complaint.

We will endeavour to acknowledge receipt of your complaint, advise you as to which Partner or Fee Earner will be investigating your complaint and provide an initial response within fourteen days. If your complaint is complicated, or requires considerable research, it may take us longer than fourteen days before we can provide a detailed response.

If you feel unable to discuss your complaint with the Solicitor or Licensed Conveyancer actually handling your case, or if having tried to resolve the complaint with the Solicitor or Licensed Conveyancer handling your case you are still unhappy, then you will have the right to make an appointment to see a Partner of this Firm who has not been involved in your case who will endeavour to resolve the matter as swiftly as possible. No charge will be made for discussing your case with you and investigating the matter. Once the complaint has been investigated by that Partner they will write to you to advise as to whether they accept that your complaint was justified and what action Lee and Company propose to take to resolve the matter.

Agreeing to attempt to resolve a complaint using our complaints procedure will not affect your legal rights.

If you are unhappy with the decision reached by that Partner or of his or her suggestion for resolving the matter to your satisfaction, then you are entitled to respond setting out the reasons as to why you are still dissatisfied and that partner or another partner will consider your further representations and advise as to whether they are prepared to change the action that Lee & Company would propose to take to deal with your complaint. If however Lee & Company advise you that you have exhausted the complaints procedure then Lee & Company will not enter into further correspondence with you regarding your complaint. You are entitled at any time to seek the advice of another Firm of Solicitors, or make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman or take such other action as you think appropriate. The address and telephone number for the Legal Ombudsman is: PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ, telephone: 0300 555 0333,
E-Mail: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk.

The Legal Ombudsman will not normally be willing to consider a complaint unless you have first used our complaints procedure.

You can use the Legal Ombudsman if: –

a) the complaint has not been resolved to your satisfaction within 8 weeks of the complaint being made to us;

b) an Ombudsman considers that there are exceptional reasons to consider the complaint sooner or without it having been made first to us; or

c) where an Ombudsman considers that in-house resolution is not possible due to an irretrievable breakdown in the relationship between you and us.

Ordinarily a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must be made no later than:-

  • one year from the date of the act or omission being complained about; or
  • one year from the date when the complainant should have realised that there was cause for complaint.

Further, ordinarily a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman should be made within six months of our final written response to your complaint. The Ombudsman does have power to extend the time limits if it is fair and reasonable in all the circumstances to do so.

Complaint to Solicitors Regulation Authority

Most complaints about Solicitors, including for alleged poor service, should be made to the Legal Ombudsman.  However, you can make a report to the Solicitors Regulation Authority directly if you think that we have breached an SRA principle, details of which can be found on the SRA website.  You can also report us for non-payment of professional fees if you have a County Court Judgment in respect of the fee and the Judgment relates to our practice in connection with providing a legal service.  Contact details for the Solicitors Regulation Authority are telephone number 0370 606 2555, postal address Solicitors Regulation Authority, The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RN, or DX 720293 Birmingham 47, fax number 0121 616 1999, email address contactcentre@sra.org.uk  / contactcentre@mail.sra.org.uk, website https://www.sra.org.uk/home/contact-us/.

You do not have to use our complaints procedure, you are entitled to seek independent legal advice or make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman at any time (the Legal Ombudsman may not accept your complaint unless you have used our complaints procedure). However, we would suggest that in the first instance you try to use our complaints procedure as many Solicitors throughout the country find that sometimes clients’ complaints in fact result from a misunderstanding as to the role of a Solicitor, or of the procedures necessary to deal with a particular type of matter. Clients’ concerns or complaints can often be resolved far quicker to the mutual satisfaction of the client and the Solicitor by attempting to resolve the matter direct rather than involving third parties.