This Complaints Handling Procedure (CHP) explains how we will deal with your complaint and how long we will to take to do so. It also provides you with important information about what you can do if you are not happy with our investigation process, or about our final decision.
Designated complaints handler
If you have any concerns about our charges, our services or our work, you should discuss these in the first instance with the individual who has day-to-day control of your matter.
If this person cannot, or does not, satisfactorily address your concerns and you wish to make a formal complaint, please contact Ian Osborn, who is the complaints handling Partner of the firm. You should clearly set out your reasons for complaining in writing and send your complaint to: Wosskow Brown Solicitors, The John Banner Centre, 620 Attercliffe Road, Sheffield S9 3QS marked for the attention of Ian Osborn.
Stage 1: Acknowledging your complaint
Within 7 days of receiving your complaint, it will be recorded in our Complaints Register. A separate matter file will be opened, in which we will store any correspondence and other documents relating to your complaint. We will also send you a letter acknowledging your complaint.
Stage 2: Investigating your complaint
Within 21 days of receiving your complaint, we will review your matter file and any other relevant correspondences or documentation. We will send you an initial letter explaining the manner in which we propose to deal with your complaint. We might ask you to clarify, confirm or explain any issues you raise and we may ask you for more information. We might suggest meeting with you face-to-face and would try and arrange such a meeting within 21 days of first receipt of your complaint. Within 7 days of any such meeting, we will write to you, to confirm what was discussed, what took place and further to confirm any offer of redress that we have made. If you would prefer not to meet, where we cannot arrange this within an agreeable timescale, or where such a meeting is outside of our control, we will write to you, fully setting out our views on the complaint and making suggestions as to how we might put matters right. Whichever form our investigation takes, we will aim to give you our final decision within six weeks of receiving your complaint.
Stage 3: Appealing against our final decision
If you are not satisfied with our final decision, please let us know and we will take reasonable steps to review our decision. We will let you know the result of any such review within 7 days of receiving your appeal and we will then confirm your options in writing. If you remain dissatisfied after receipt of our reviewed decision, you can then contact the Legal Ombudsman about your complaint. We will also advise you whether we are prepared to engage in alternative methods of mediation.
Stage 4: The Legal Ombudsman
You may refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman (LeO). Ordinarily, you will not be entitled to refer your complaint to LeO until you have exhausted our CHP. However, you may contact LeO:
- If the complaint has not been resolved to your satisfaction within eight weeks of first making the complaint to us; or
- LeO decides that there are exceptional reasons why LeO should consider your complaint sooner, or without you having to use our CHP first; or
- LeO considers that your complaint cannot be resolved using our CHP, because the relationship between you and us has broken down irretrievably.
If you do decide to refer your complaint to LeO, you must do so within six months of the date of our final decision. The relevant time limits for complaining to LeO are set out in the version of LeO’s scheme rules in force from time to time (which are available online at www.legalombudsman.org.uk or upon request from Leo directly).
Currently, the Scheme Rules state that the act or omission you wish to complain about must have occurred (or the you ought to have known there was cause for complaint) after 5 October 2020. You must refer the complaint to LeO no later than six years from the act/omission or three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
There are restrictions on the type of individuals and entities that may make a complaint about our services to LeO. Please refer to LeO’s website for further information.
Contact details for the Legal Ombudsman
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 usually agree to use such schemes as those operated by ProMediate UK Ltd as we believe LeO is better equipped to resolve complaints against legal firms.
Our professional conduct or behaviour
Our regulatory body, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) can help you if you are concerned about our conduct or behaviour. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic.
We are bound by various professional rules of conduct which can be viewed online on the SRA’s website (https://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/standards-regulations). You can also see more information about the assistance, guidance and help the SRA can give to you here: https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor.page