Hartley & Worstenholme is committed to providing high quality professional legal services to all our clients. However, we recognise that there may be occasions where you have concerns regarding our services.
Timescales for accepting complaints
If you have a concern or complaint, please contact us as soon as you become aware of the problem.
We will consider complaints which would fall to be dealt with by the Legal Ombudsman (see below). That is to say we will accept complaints where:-
- The problem, or when you found out about it, happened after 5 October 2010; and
- You are complaining within six years of the problem happening or three years from when you found out about it.
Initial complaint to fee earner/Head of Department
If you wish to complain about the service provided or the bill, please, in the first instance, contact the fee earner who is handling your matter or the Head of the relevant Department whose details are given in the client care documentation. Your complaint will be acknowledged and a response provided within 5 working days. The fee earner will respond to the issue(s) raised and hopefully put your mind at rest.
If the issue is unable to be resolved at this stage or you are not satisfied with the response you receive, please advise us and your complaint will be passed to the relevant Head of Department who will review the matter with the fee earner who dealt with it initially. The Head of Department will write to you to acknowledge that they are now dealing with the matter. You will be invited to a meeting to discuss the issue(s) further and hopefully resolve the matter within 14 days of the acknowledgement letter.
If you do not want a meeting or it is not possible, the Head of Department will send you a detailed written response to your complaint, including their suggestions for resolving the matter, within 21 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.
Referral to the Head of Complaints and timescales
If the issue is unable to be resolved as per 3 above, or you are not satisfied with the response you receive, you should refer your complaint to Chris Wilton, Head of Complaints. You should provide him with full details of your complaint and copies of any relevant documents.
You can contact him by:-
Post: 10 Gillygate, Pontefract, WF8 1PQ
Telephone: 01977 732222
Mr Wilton will acknowledge your complaint within 5 working days and write to you with his decision within 21 working days of receipt of your complaint (or your clarification of any issues which may assist him in reaching his decision, whichever shall be the later). If that is not possible, he will inform you why that is the case and by when a response will be delivered.
You will not have exhausted our Complaints Procedure until you receive that final letter from Mr Wilton (or the final letter from another Partner, as referred to below).
We will, of course, not charge you for investigating your complaint.
If you remain dissatisfied after that final letter, the following options are available to you:-
- You can request that Mr Wilton’s decision be reviewed by another (or the Managing partner) Partner. Please confirm within 14 working days of the final letter from Mr Wilton that you wish to take this course of action. The reviewing Partner will write to you within 21 working days of your request for review with this Firms final decision; and
- You can refer your complaint to an alternative complaints body (such as ProMediate – www.promediate.co.uk ) who can deal with complaints about legal services should both you and this Firm wish to use such a scheme. We will inform you at the conclusion of our complaints process whether we intend to co-operate with any mediation. You must refer your complaint to the alternative complaints body within their time limits (please contact them for that information); and
- You can refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman
Referral to The Legal Ombudsman and timescales
Normally you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months from our final response to the complaint and no more than one year from the date of the act or omission complained of, or no more than one year from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
The Legal Ombudsman will accept complaints from individuals and certain other entities. Please see their website (below) for further details.
Further information (including an explanation of the time limits) may be obtained by you from the Legal Ombudsman at any time. The Legal Ombudsman can be contacted at:-
PO Box 6806
Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ
Telephone: 0300 555 0333
(Please note that only copies of documents should be sent to the Legal Ombudsman’s office to avoid any original documentation being lost or destroyed.)
Complaints to the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority
The Solicitors’ Regulation Authority can help you if you are concerned about our behaviour. 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. You can raise your concerns with the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority by contacting them at:-
199 Wharfside Street
Birmingham B1 1RN
DX 720293 BIRMINGHAM 47
Telephone: 0370 606 2555