Our Complaints Procedure

MAKING A COMPLAINT

This guidance and reporting procedure is aimed at and to be used by any client of the firm wishing to make a complaint.

1. DEFINITIONS

A Complaint is defined as a report by a client that their expectations of what they consider to be a good service has not been met.

A client is an individual or an organisation for whom this firm acts for which includes prospective and former clients.

2. OUR COMPLAINTS POLICY

We are committed to providing a high quality legal service to all of our clients.  When something goes wrong we need you to tell us about it.  This will help us improve our client service standards and the way in which we provide our legal services to clients.

3. KEY PERSONNEL

MICHAEL McDONNELL – Michael McDonnell (Director) is our Complaints Officer.  In addition to this duty he is also Head of our Disputes Department.

JOHN GOODWIN – John Goodwin (Director) is our Deputy Complaints Officer and is also Head of our Crime, Fraud & Regulatory Department.

4. OUR COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE

In the first instance, we ask that you set out your complaint in writing and forward this via email to Michael.mcdonnell@cohencramer.co.uk or alternatively via post to:

For the attention of Michael McDonnell

Suite 1B
Joseph’s Well
Hanover Walk
Leeds
LS3 1AB

If the complaint is with regard to Michael McDonnell then please forward your correspondence to our Deputy Complaints Officer, John Goodwin via email to john.goodwin@cohencramer.co.uk or alternatively using the postal address above.

5. WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT

5.1 Either the Complaints Officer or the Deputy Complaints Officer will send you a letter acknowledging your complaint within five working days of receipt.  If there are any further details the Complaints Officers require they will request these from you.

5.2 Your letter of complaint will be recorded on our central complaints register and a separate file will be opened to progress and deal with your complaint.  A complaints file will be opened within two days of receipt of your complaint.

5.3 We will then start to investigate your complaint.  This will normally involve the following steps:-

5.3.1 Michael McDonnell (or John Goodwin) will ask the member of staff who acted on your matter to provide comments on the complaint within 10 working days. He will then examine their reply

5.3.2 If the complaint relates to a long standing matter, which may have a number of correspondence files and ring binders of documents, an analysis and response to the complaint might take longer than these time limits and you will be informed in writing.

5.4 Michael McDonnell (or John Goodwin) will then write to you with their findings and any proposals to settle the complaint. This will be within 5 working days of the last stage.

5.5 If appropriate it may be necessary to telephone you to discuss the complaint and/or arrange a meeting.

6. APPEALS

6.1 At this stage if you are not satisfied you are free to contact Michael McDonnell or John Goodwin again to discuss the complaint further. We will then review our decision. This will happen by another director of the firm reviewing Michael McDonnell’s, or John Goodwin’s decision within 10 days.

6.2 We will let you know the result of the review within five days of the end of the review. At this stage we will write to you confirming our final position on the complaint and explaining our reasons.

7. LEGAL OMBUDSMAN

7.1 If we are unable to resolve your complaint to your satisfaction then you are entitled to contact the Legal Ombudsman.  Their contact details are as follows:-

7.1.1 Address: PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ

7.1.2 E-mail:  enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

7.1.3 Telephone: 0300 5550333

7.2 Time limits for complaints to Legal Ombudsman

7.2.1 In the first instance you should complain to us in writing.  If you are not happy with our response then you may make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.  Your complaint should be made:

7.2.2 No longer than 6 years from the incident which gave rise to your complaint.

7.2.3 If the period is longer than 6 years you might still be able to complain if it is under 3 years since you should have known about the cause of complaint.

7.2.4 No longer than 6 months from our written response to your complaint.

7.3 Alternatively, if you complain to us and have not had a response within 8 weeks you are entitled to raise your concerns with the Legal Ombudsman at that stage.

7.4 There are certain exceptions to all these rules and the full details can be found on the Legal Ombudsman website at Section 4 of the document entitled “Scheme Rule”.

8. ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION

Alternative complaints bodies, such as ProMediate UK Ltd (www.promediate.co.uk) exist and are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and this firm wish to use such a scheme.  We do not agree to use the scheme operated by ProMediate UK Ltd as we believe the Legal Ombudsman is better equipped to resolve complaints against legal firms.

9. REMEDIES UNDER THIS POLICY

Any Complaint made by you will either be upheld or not upheld and the reasons for the decision will be put to the client in writing.

The lawyer who is the main handler of your matter will also be informed of the decision in writing.

If your complaint is upheld an appropriate remedy will be offered to you.

If your complaint is not upheld you have the right to appeal or refer the matter to the Legal Ombudsman as discussed above at point 6 and 7.

10. MONITORING

10.1This policy will be monitored periodically by the firm to judge its effectiveness. The firm has appointed Michael McDonnell to be responsible for the operation of the policy. In particular, the firm will monitor the number of complaints received and the handlers of such client matters and will review its Complaints Policy in accordance with the results shown by the monitoring. If changes are required, the firm will implement them. Any developments of the firm’s strategic and business plans, or changes in this manual, will similarly be examined in order to ensure that no inadvertent breach of the policy occurs.

10.2 We are fully committed to Client Service and Standards.  Every client should receive a consistent and high level of client service stipulated by the firm and the firm’s benchmark.  No Client should tolerate anything other than the highest standards.