New Complaints Procedure
New rules have been introduced for the handling of complaints about lawyers. The rules are effective from 6 October 2010. Up to now, eight professional bodies ranging from the Law Society to the Association of Law Costs Draughtsmen have dealt with clients of different kinds of legal representatives, such as notaries and patent lawyers through to barristers. The system has now been brought under the control of a Legal Ombudsman.
Lawyers must endeavour to resolve complaints within eight weeks of first receiving the complaint. If matters cannot be resolved the Ombudsman may intervene.
The Ombudsman will deal with allegations of negligence, as well as with complaints generally. This is a new departure for the Complaints Service.
Neves’ Complaints Procedures are explained in all of our initial Terms of Business letters.
Initially, a complaint should be referred to the Head of the relevant Department.
Complaints about the Head of Department or which the Head of Department has not dealt with to the satisfaction of a client will be referred to Peter Kelly, the Partner with overall responsibility for client care matters.
If we are unable to resolve a client’s concerns they may then refer the matter to the Legal Ombudsman.
The introduction of the Ombusdsman Service represents the third change to the Solicitors’ Code of Conduct 2007 in the space of just over twelve months.
We are pleased to say that we rarely receive complaints at Neves and we have a good track record of dealing with those which we do receive to the satisfaction of our clients without the involvement of an outside agency.
The Ombudsman Service’s website is www.legalombudsman.org.uk