Complaints Procedure

If you are dissatisfied with either the service you have received as a client or with any aspect of your bill, please raise your concerns with the partner in charge of your matter. Our aim will always be to deal with your concerns as quickly as possible and without recourse to any formal complaints procedure, if that is possible.

If it is clear that you remain dissatisfied the partner will inform you of the existence of our formal complaints procedure by sending you a copy of this procedure.

Individual clients:

If you are an individual client rather than a representative of an organisational client, please use our formal complaints procedure described below.

Organisational clients:

If you are the representative of an organisational client and your dissatisfaction relates to the service provided by the partner in charge of your matter you should raise your concerns with the partner who manages the relationship with your organisation. If that is the same person or if you remain dissatisfied, please use our formal complaints procedure described below.

Stage 1

You should write to the Managing Partner and clearly mark your letter “formal complaint”. Please outline the cause of your dissatisfaction and if possible the action you would like us to take in order to remedy that dissatisfaction.

Stage 2

We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within five working days and inform you of the name of the person who is dealing with your complaint. The firm takes any form of complaint very seriously and as a result of our ongoing commitment to ensuring good client care and quality of service, we might outsource stage 2 of our complaints procedure to an Independent Complaints Handler. We believe that this is in the interest of our clients as it allows us to obtain an independent view on any complaints and also constructive feedback on how our services can be improved. Your complaint will be acknowledged by them within 5 working days and a thorough investigation undertaken..

Stage 3

The person investigating the complaint will have full access to all the information and personnel that they require to investigate your complaint properly. They may contact you directly to discuss and confirm your heads of complaints and request any further information from you to assist the investigation.

We will ask the person investigating the complaint to recommend the action which they believe would be recommended by the Legal Ombudsman if the complaint was referred to the Legal Ombudsman.

Stage 4

The person investigating your complaint will provide you with a detailed assessment report together with their recommendations to resolve the complaint, if any. A copy of which will be first forwarded to us for review.. We will generally follow the recommendations made but if we think they are not appropriate we will explain our reasons to you.

We have 8 weeks from the date we receive your complaint to fully investigate and provide our final response to you.

If we have to change any of the timescales above, we will contact you to explain why.

You will not be charged for our time spent dealing with a complaint internally.

Stage 5

If you are still not satisfied, the next step is for you to contact the Legal Ombudsman (http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/) by one of the following methods:

Telephone: 0300 555 0333
Telephone outside the UK: + 44 12245 3050
Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk
By post: PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ

The Ombudsman service is only available to members of the public, very small businesses, charities, clubs and trusts. If you are unclear about your position, then you should contact the Legal Ombudsman direct to clarify whether or not they can deal with your complaint. Alternatively, please refer to the Legal Ombudsman’s scheme rules which are available by clicking on the following link:

http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/downloads/documents/publications/Scheme-Rules.pdf

You have the right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman at the conclusion of our complaints process providing you do so within 6 months of the date of our final written response.

Ordinarily you can also ask the Legal Ombudsman to investigate your complaint if you satisfy the following:

The problem or when you found out about it, happened after 5 October 2010 andYou are referring your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within either 6 years of the problem happening or 3 years from when you found out about it.

If you have a complaint which relates to financial services (we will advise you if this is the case), we will also follow stages 1 to 4 above. However, at stage 5 we will do the following:

If you are still not satisfied with the decision we have taken on your complaint and wish to take it further, you can ask the Financial Ombudsman Service (www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk) to look into your complaint for you. This is a free independent service for resolving disputes between customers and financial services institutions. You will need to contact them within 6 months of the date of our final response letter, and they will ask to see the letter as a summary of our investigation of your complaint. The Financial Ombudsman Service details are as follows:

  • Telephone: 0800 0234 567
  • Email: complaint.info@financial-ombudsman.org.uk
  • By post: Exchange Tower, London E14 9SR

Alternative complaints bodies such as ProMediate (http://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. BWB does not agree to use ProMediate as we prefer the Legal Ombudsman’s clear adjudication process.

Complaints About Fees

If you are dissatisfied with our bill, you have the right to apply to the High Court for an assessment of our charges by an Officer of the Court under ss. 70, 71 and 72 of the Solicitors Act 1974. We hope that before making such an application you would first use our complaints procedure explained above.

This policy was updated in November 2017.