How to complain

Complaints procedure for clients

1 Introduction

1.1 HFL (“ the firm”) is committed to providing outstanding client service to all its clients. When a problem arises or something goes wrong, we need you to let us know. This gives us the opportunity to address the issue and to try to satisfy your concerns. It also helps us to improve our standards.

1.2 As stated in the firm’s terms of engagement, clients who wish to make a complaint are asked to contact the firm’s Managing Director, Andrew Meehan.

1.3 Please also use this complaints procedure if you have a complaint about a bill. In addition, you have the right to object to a bill by applying to the court for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. If you apply to the court, the Legal Ombudsman (see below for details) may decide not to deal with a complaint about the bill.

1.4 The firm is bound by the SRA Code of Conduct 2011. Chapter 1 of the Code deals with complaints handling. The firm is not entitled to charge for handling a complaint.

2 Our complaints procedure

2.1 You may complain to Andrew Meehan, the firm’s Managing Director.

2.2 Within three working days we will acknowledge receipt of your complaint and tell you who is dealing with it. We will also supply a copy of this procedure to you. We might also need to ask you for further clarification about your complaint.

2.3 It might be possible to offer a solution at this stage and we will write to you to ask whether the solution is acceptable.

2.4 The person who acted in your matter will normally be asked to prepare a response, unless in the circumstances it is necessary for someone else to do so. The person who is handling your complaint will examine the response and the complaint file and ask for any further relevant information.

2.5 We will then either:

2.5.1 contact you to try to arrange a meeting with you to discuss your complaint and put forward a solution. We will do this within 14 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter. Within three days of the meeting we will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions that have been agreed; or

2.5.2 send a detailed written reply to your complaint, including our suggestions for resolving the matter, within 21 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.

2.6 If you inform us that the solution is not acceptable, Andrew Meehan will either meet with you or contact you to discuss your complaint or alternatively will write to you within 14 days of the referral to him, confirming our final position on your complaint and setting out our reasons.

2.7 If we have to change any of the above timescales we will let you know and explain the reasons for the change.

2.8 If we are unable to settle your complaint using our internal complaints process, you have a right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman, an independent complaints body, established under the Legal Services Act 2007. You can contact the Legal Ombudsman at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ about your complaint.

2.9 Any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must normally be made within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint. In any event, the Legal Ombudsman must receive details of any complaint that you wish to raise with him within six years from the date of the act/omission or three years from when you should reasonably have known there was a cause for complaint (only if the act took place more than six years ago). The act or omission, or when you should have reasonably known there was cause for complaint, must have been after 5 October 2010. Further information may be obtained by you from the Legal Ombudsman at any time.

2.9 Please note that only copies of documents should be sent to the Legal Ombudsman’s office to avoid any documentation being lost or destroyed.

2.10 Please note that the Legal Ombudsman may decline to deal with complaints from certain types of clients.

2.11 Legal Ombudsman’s Contact Details

2.12 Alternative complaints bodies (such as ProMediate (see www.promediate.co.uk)) exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme. We do not agree to use ProMediate.

2.13 Please feel free to contact Andrew Meehan at any point to discuss your complaint. We are extremely committed to providing an excellent level of service.