Complaints procedure

We want to offer all of our clients the best possible service. If at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service, then you should let us know.

In the first instance, it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your case to discuss your concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues at that stage. If you do not wish to do this, or if you have tried and remain dissatisfied, then you should address your complaint to the Branch Manager at the office dealing with your case. The Branch Managers for this purpose are as follows:

DERBY

Norman House — Muctar Johal — muctar.johal@smithpartnership.co.uk

BURTON

45 High Street — Steve Hennessy — steve.hennessy@smithpartnership.co.uk

LEICESTER

Alison Neate — alison.neate@smithpartnership.co.uk

LONGTON

Mike Kimberley — mike.kimberley@smithpartnership.co.uk

SWADLINCOTE

Emma Hennessy — emma.hennessy@smithpartnership.co.uk

We will send you an email or letter to acknowledge your complaint. It may be that we will require some further details from you. As soon as we have the full details of your complaint, we will investigate it. This may involve one or more of the following steps:

  • Reading your file.
  • Seeking information from the member of staff who acted for you.
  • Consulting with other colleagues and members of staff.
  • Arranging a meeting with you to discuss the matter. You do not have to attend a meeting if you do not wish to do so.
  • We will complete this investigation within 7 working days unless there are exceptional circumstances, in which case you will be notified of these as well as receive information on when we can complete our instigation.

In the event that the Branch Manager is unable to resolve your complaint to your satisfaction, you may appeal the decision to Simon Rowley at our Norman House office, Friar Gate, Derby, DE1 1NU. His email address is simon.rowley@smithpartnership.co.uk and he may be contacted on 01332 225225. Mr Rowley is the Partner with overall responsibility for complaints within our firm and he will carry out a similar investigation into your complaint as we carried out by the Branch Manager. The same timescales will apply. Mr Rowley's decision in relation to client care will be final as far as our firm's internal policy is concerned.

If you don't accept our decision, you may be able to ask the Legal Ombudsman to review your complaint. They will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your complaint.

Before accepting a complaint or investigation, a Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If that has occurred, you must make your complaint to them:

  • Within 6 months of receiving a final response to your complaint;
  • No more than 6 years from the date of the act/omission; or
  • No more than 3 years from when you should reasonably have known that there was cause for complaint.

If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman please contact them as follows:

www.legalombudsman.org.uk

Phone number: 0300 555 0333 between 9am to 5pm.

enguiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ

Not all clients will be entitled to have their complaints considered by the Ombudsman, as the service is only available to members of the public, very small businesses, charities, clubs and trusts. If you are unsure whether you fall into one of these categories and wish to make a complaint, then please contact the Ombudsman directly through one of the options listed above.

In certain circumstances you could also refer the matter to the Solicitors Regulation Authority. This could be things like misconduct, losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic.

CLAIMS PROCEDURE

If you are considering or intending to make a claim against us, then you should send details to Simon Rowley whose contact details are shown above.

We will send you a letter to acknowledge your claim. You can expect to receive this letter within 2 working days of Mr Rowley receiving your claim. This letter will:

  • Advise you of the name, address and policy number of our insurers.
  • Advise you whether we intend to deal with the claim ourselves or rely on our insurers.
  • If we intend to deal with the claim ourselves, the name of the person in the firm who will handle the matter.
  • Whether we can continue to act for you.
  • Whether we advise you to seek independent legal advice.

PLEASE NOTE

We will not be able to comment on the merits of your claim.