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.
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. Rest assured any issue will be treated seriously and in confidence and dealt with promptly and fairly.
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 Lawyer”).
We would ask that You contact the Lawyer in the usual way 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 Lawyer 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. Please note that this raising of the issue will be treated as constructive criticism but not a formal complaint.
IF IT CANNOT BE SORTED INFORMALLY
If no such resolution is possible, You should confirm this and provide the Lawyer 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”) or, if you have already done so in raising the matter informally, tell the Lawyer that you are relying on that as the Written Account. Unless there are exceptional circumstances which prevent you doing so we would ask that you provide us with the Written Account as soon as possible and, in any event, within 6 months of it arising.
The Lawyer 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 Lawyer’s Response”).
IF IT CANNOT BE SORTED WITH THE LAWYER
If the issue has still not been resolved to your satisfaction, please can You confirm this within 7 days of receipt of the Lawyer’s Response either:
– to the Lawyer who will refer it on to; or
– if You would prefer, by you Yourself calling
one of the directors at Briffa who is not the Lawyer namely either Margaret Briffa, Eamon Chawke, William Miles or Ralph Wehrle (“the First Director”). 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 Lawyer;
– 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 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 Lawyer will be given a reasonable opportunity to respond to it.
The First Director will acknowledge their involvement and receipt of any further information within 3 days. The First Director will investigate the matter, reviewing your file and speaking to the Lawyer.
The First Director 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 Director will write to you confirming what took place and any solutions agreed with you.
If there is no meeting or agreed solution, the First Director will aim to provide a response, including their suggestions for resolving the matter, within 14 days of becoming involved (“the Director’s Response”).
The Director’s Response will be our ‘final written response’ about the matter unless:
– You contact us requesting an appeal of the decision within 7 days; and
– there is a director available who is not the Lawyer nor First Director (“the Second Director”).
The Second Director will acknowledge their involvement within 3 days, review the Director’s Response and aim to provide You with an appeal decision within 14 days of becoming involved (the Appeal Decision”). That appeal decision will then be our ‘final written response’.
We will do our best to keep to the timescales for providing the Lawyer’s Response, Director’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. We have and aim to complete our complaints handling procedure within 8 weeks.
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 a net income of less than £1 million you may have the right to refer the matter to the Legal Ombudsman. You must normally do so within 6 months of receiving our final written response or 6 years of the act or omission about which you are complaining occurring (or if outside this period, within 3 years of when you should reasonably have been aware of it). 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
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
Web: www.sra.org.uk from where you can email them
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 the number set out above).