Client Complaints Policy
Effective Date: 16 September 2018
1. Reason for Policy
Newport Land & Law is committed to providing a high quality legal service to all our clients. When something goes wrong, we need clients to tell us about it so that we can address all issues in a thorough and compassionate manner. This will help us to continue to improve our standards.
2. Policy Statement
We value the opportunity to look into any concerns with regard to the service we have carried out and are committed to fully investigating complaints in a fair and prompt manner, and within legislative guidelines.
All Newport Land & Law employees should familiarise themselves with the procedures set out below and adhere to them. In order to assist in this regard, the policy and procedures manual will be incorporated into the induction training for all new staff and also made accessible to all staff. In relation to redress, Newport Land & Law will endeavour to return the customer to a position where they are financially no worse off than they would have been had the error (which lead to the complaint) not occurred.
This policy applies to all activities undertaken by Newport Land & Law and to all staff. Client complaints procedures must be documented appropriately and clients must be informed of their availability.
4.1 Receiving complaints
Form of contact
If the client has a concern or a complaint that has not been dealt with to their satisfaction by the person handling their case or their supervising partner, the client should contact us as soon as they are aware of the problem so this can be addressed.
All complaints should be received in writing (via email or post). In instances where a complaint is received via the telephone, the member of staff should write down the relevant details exactly as they are provided by the complainant and forward them to the Client Care Officer and the Complainant, in order to ensure that the complaint has been accurately captured.
4.2 Dealing with complaints
Processes and timescales
- Newport Land & Law will send the complainant a letter, acknowledging receipt of their complaint within five days of receiving the complaint, enclosing a copy of this procedure.
- We will then investigate the complaint. This will normally involve passing your complaint to our Client Care Officer, who will review the complainant’s matter file and speak to the member of staff who acted for them.
- The Client Care Officer will then invite the complainant to a meeting to discuss and, it is hoped, resolve their complaint. The Client Care Officer will do this within 14 days of sending the acknowledgement letter.
- Within three days of the meeting, the Client Care Officer will write to the complainant to confirm what took place and any solutions they agreed with you.
- If the complainant does not want a meeting or it is not possible, the Client Care Officer will send a detailed written reply to their complaint, including suggestions for resolving the matter, within 21 days of sending the acknowledgement letter.
- At this stage, if the complainant is still not satisfied, they should contact us again to explain why they remain unhappy with our response and we will review their comments. Depending on the matter, we may at this stage arrange for another member of staff to review the decision.
- We will write to the complainant within 14 days of receiving their request for a review, confirming our final position on their complaint and explaining our reasons.
- If the complainant is still not satisfied, they can then contact the Legal Ombudsman at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ or call 0300 555 0333 about their complaint. Any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within six months of receiving a final written response from us regarding any complaint – and;- No more than six years from the date of act/omission; (note from 1st April 2023 the six year time limit reduces to one year) or
– No more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint (note from 1st April 2023 the three year time limit reduces to one year).
The Legal Ombudsman has provided further guidance on its service at www.legalombudsman.org.uk.
If we have to change any of the timescales above, we will always inform the complainant and explain why.
4.3 Record keeping of complaints
Storing of information
The Compliance Department will keep records of all complaints for 6 years from when they are closed off. In particular, the following will be recorded:
- Identity of the complainant.
- Substance of the complaint.
- Name of the employee who investigated the complaint.
- Any correspondence between Newport Land & Law and the complainant, including details of any solutions or redress that have been offered by Newport Land & Law.