F Barnes Solicitors Limited pride themselves in providing a professional and sympathetic service to all our clients. However, solicitors are human and therefore not always perfect. Sometimes there can be a breakdown in communications between the client and the solicitor dealing with their matter. It can occur when telephone messages are not passed on or the client or the solicitor has not fully understood the position.
The Law Society requires us to operate a complaints handling procedure which requires us to deal with any problems clients may experience swiftly and efficiently.
What do you do if you have a problem?
Initially if you have any concerns, please first take them up with the person who is acting for you at this firm. If that does not resolve the problem, or you would prefer not to speak to that person, then please contact Joanne Druce who is the firm’s Complaints Handling Director.
How do you contact Joanne Druce?
The easiest way is by telephone on 01708 333711. If it’s a small problem, it can often be quickly resolved over the telephone. After speaking to you - if it is too complicated to deal with over the telephone – she will ask you to put your concerns in writing and either send your letter to her at F Barnes Solicitors Limited 20 Balgores Square, Gidea Park, RM2 6AU or email her at Joanne.email@example.com
What happens next?
1) Joanne Druce will send you a letter within 7 days of receiving your complaint.
2) Your complaint will be recorded in our central register.
3) Joanne Druce will then investigate your complaint. This usually involves the following steps:
(a) She will ask the person who is acting/acted on your behalf to provide a written response to your complaint within 7 days.
(b) She will then examine their response and refer to the information in your file and if necessary speak to the person in (a), which may take up to another 7 days.
(c) Joanne Druce will then either invite you to a meeting to discuss and hopefully resolve your complaint or she will telephone you to discuss the matter. Usually the matter will be resolved and a letter will then be sent to you confirming the outcome. If the matter cannot be resolved Joanne Druce will respond formally to your complaint and outline your options.
(d) If you are not happy with the outcome, you can ask us to review the position within 14 days and the matter will be referred to another Director who will review the matter and respond within 10 days.
(e) If still unresolved at this stage you may take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.
The Legal Ombudsman is able to investigate the quality of professional service supplied by a solicitor to a client and investigate allegations that a solicitor has breached rules of professional conduct.
The time limit for making a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman has recently changed. From 1 April 2023 the Legal Ombudsman can investigate complaints 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. If you wish to refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman this must be done within six months of our final response to your complaint.
Before it will consider a complaint, The Legal Ombudsman generally requires that the firm’s internal complaints procedure has been exhausted and if it is satisfied that the firm’s proposals for resolving a complaint are reasonable, it may decline to investigate further.
What to do if you are unhappy with our behaviour
The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help 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.
Visit their website to see how you can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.