BRIFFA’S COMPLAINTS HANDLING PROCEDURE

 

INTRODUCTION 

We are committed to high standards of service which meet or exceed our client’s expectations.  In order to allow us to do this, we encourage clients to maintain a full and frank on going dialogue with ourselves throughout and after a matter not least so that any issues that arise can be dealt with as efficiently and effectively as possible and to help us improve our service.

However, we also recognise that misunderstandings can happen or things otherwise go wrong.  If you are dissatisfied with our performance in any area and for any reason (including but not only in relation to our bill) we would like you to raise this with us.  Unless there are exceptional circumstances which prevent you doing so we would ask that you raise any issue with us as soon as possible and, in any event, within 6 months of it arising.

Rest assured any issue will be treated seriously and in confidence and dealt with promptly and fairly.

INITIALLY

In accordance with our wish to maintain the dialogue referred to above, we would first ask that the individual elected to be the person from whom we are taking instructions (“You/Your”) try to resolve any issue with the person at Briffa dealing with your file (“the Fee Earner”).  We would ask that You contact the Fee Earner in the usual way during normal office hours and as soon as possible, since events will be fresh in people’s minds and it might well limit the problem and facilitate a quicker resolution.  The Fee Earner will make a note of the issue and what (if anything) you would like done about it and try to provide a swift informal resolution which, if acceptable, they will record and, if necessary, effect.

IF IT CANNOT BE SORTED INFORMALLY

If no such resolution is possible and You have not already done so, You should then provide the Fee Earner with a full account of the issue in writing (together with any supporting documentation and what, if anything, you would like done) preferably by email or registered post (to Briffa, Business Design Centre, Upper Street, London N1 0QH) (“the Written Account”).  Please note that the raising of an issue will be treated as constructive criticism but not as a formal complaint without the Written Account.  The Fee Earner will acknowledge receipt of the Written Account within 3 days of receiving it (enclosing a copy of this document if one has not already been provided to you) and aim to provide You with a detailed written response within 14 days of receiving it (“the Fee Earner’s Response”).

IF IT CANNOT BE SORTED WITH THE FEE EARNER

If the issue has still not been resolved to your satisfaction, please can You confirm this within 7 days of receipt of the Fee Earner’s Response either:

– to the Fee Earner who will refer it on to; or

– if You would prefer, by you Yourself calling

one of the partners at Briffa who is not the Fee Earner namely either Margaret Briffa (direct line: (020 7288 6095) or Ralph Wehrle (direct line: 020 7288 6022) (the First Partner”).  If you call and to help us deal with the issue promptly it would be helpful if You could provide the following information:

–           Your full contact details including phone and email address;

–           the name of the Fee Earner;

–           who Briffa’s client was (if not You) and the matter concerned;

–           when and how You provided the Written Account; and

–           Your understanding of the current position and why the issue has not been resolved to your satisfaction.

You can provide any further information and documentation that you wish considered which it will be provided always that the Fee Earner will be given a reasonable opportunity to respond to it.

The First Partner will acknowledge their involvement and receipt of any further information within 3 days.  The First Partner will investigate the matter, reviewing your file and speaking to the Fee Earner.

The First Partner may invite you to a meeting to discuss and try to resolve the matter.  They will do this within 7 days of becoming involved.  Within 3 days of any meeting, the First Partner will write to you confirming what took place and any solutions agreed with you.

If there is no meeting or agreed solution, the First Partner will aim to provide their response within 14 days of becoming involved (“the Partner’s Response”).

APPEAL

The Partner’s Response will be our ‘final written response’ about the matter unless:

–           there is a partner who is not the Fee Earner nor the First Partner (“the Second Partner”); and

–           You contact that Second Partner requesting an appeal of the decision within 7 days.

The Second Partner will acknowledge their involvement within 3 days, review the Partner’s Response and aim to provide You with an appeal decision within 14 days of becoming involved.  That appeal decision will then be our ‘final written response’.

TIMESCALES

We will do our best to keep to the timescales for providing the Fee Earner’s Response, Partner’s Response and appeal decision.  However, where this is not possible, we will write to you informing you of this, explaining why not and setting a target by which the response will be made.

OMBUDSMAN

In the event that you are still not satisfied at the outcome and you are a member of the public or micro-enterprise, charity, club or trust with an income net of tax of less than £1 million you may have the right to refer the matter to the Legal Ombudsman.  You must normally do so within six years of the problem happening or 3 years from when you found out about it and within 6 months of receiving our final written response.  If you are unsure whether you can involve the Legal Ombudsman you should check on its website or by contacting and discussing the matter with it.  Its contact details are:

Post:    The Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ

Tel:      0300 555 0333 (from the UK) or +44 121 245 3050 (from overseas)

Web:   www.legalombudsman.org.uk

Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

SOLICITORS REGULATION AUTHORITY 

The Solicitors Regulation Authority may be able to help you if you are concerned about our behaviour in respect of matters such as: dishonesty, taking or losing your money, or treating you unfairly because of your age, disability or other characteristic.  Its contact details are:

Post:    Solicitors Regulation Authority, The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham B1 1RN

Tel:      0370 606 2555 (from the UK) or +44 121 329 6800 (from overseas)

Web:   www.sra.org.uk from where you can email them

COURT ASSESSMENT

As regards our bill you may also have the right to object to it by applying to the court for an assessment of it under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.  The Legal Ombudsman may not deal with a complaint about a bill if you have applied to the Court for assessment of that bill

FOR THE AVOIDANCE OF DOUBT

You will not be charged for the cost of complaint handling and it will not, in and of itself, effect how we continue to handle Your matter.

However, if there is a breakdown in confidence between ourselves, we reserve the right to terminate our retainer upon reasonable written notice and, if you do not pay all or part of a bill, we continue to reserve the right to:

–           decline to do any further work for you;

–           terminate our retainer with you upon reasonable written notice;

–           where appropriate, come off the Court record as acting;

–           where appropriate, keep money or other property; and

–           charge interest on the overdue amount (at the rate of 8% per annum above the Lloyds Bank base rate and accruing on a daily basis and compounded quarterly)

even if it is under investigation but obviously subject to the outcome of that investigation.

We welcome suggestions and ideas to help us improve our service. If you have any suggestions or questions about our complaints procedure please contact: Ralph Wehrle on 0207 288 6003.