Complaints handling procedure

Our complaints handling policy

Goldstones is committed to providing a high quality legal service to all our clients. When something goes wrong, we need you to tell us about it. This will help us to improve our standards.

Our complaints handling procedure

If you have a concern or a complaint, please contact us as soon as you are aware of the problem so this can be addressed. Please contact Catherine Stewart.

What will happen next?

1. We will send you a letter acknowledging receipt of your complaint within five working days of your raising your concerns, enclosing a copy of this procedure. If you require this to be in large print or if you would like to have this by way of a CD in order that you are able to read it on a computer, this sometimes will allow the text to be read to you if you have access to the correct computer programme, then please let us know.

2. We will then investigate your complaint. This will normally involve passing your complaint to our client care partner, Catherine Stewart, who will review your matter file and speak to the member of staff who acted for you.

3. Catherine Stewart will then invite you to a meeting to discuss and, it is hoped, resolve your complaint. She will do this within 14 working days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.

4. Within three working days of the meeting, Catherine Stewart will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions she has agreed with you.

5. If you do not want a meeting or it is not possible, Catherine Stewart will send you a detailed written reply to your complaint, including her suggestions for resolving the matter, within 21 working days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.

6. At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, you should contact us again to explain why you remain unhappy with our response and we will review your comments. Depending on the matter we may at this stage arrange for another Director to review the decision.

7. We will write to you within 14 working days of receiving your request for a review, confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons.

8. If you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint, you can ask the;

Legal Ombudsman,

PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ,

Website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk  

Tel: 0300 555 0333,

Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.co.uk

to consider the complaint.

For the Legal Ombudsman to deal with your complaint the problem must ordinarily have occurred after 5th October 2010.

If the problem occurred on or before 5th October 2010 or you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint, on or before that date, then the Ombudsman will not usually be able to deal with your complaint.

If you are unsure about these time limits and how they apply to your matter, please contact the Legal Ombudsman’s office, using the contact details shown above, to clarify the position.

Subject to the above Scheme Rules, and the Legal Ombudsman’s discretion to extend the time limits, you will need to bring your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman

  1. within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint and,
  2. no later than 6 years from when the problem (act or omission) occurred or,
  3. no later than 3 years from the date, you should reasonably have known that there was cause for complaint.

Please Note

  1. If your complaint is specifically about our bill, you have the right to object to it and apply for an assessment of it under part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. If you should choose to exercise this right, and the court is assessing our bill, you may be unable to use the Legal Ombudsman service.
  2. If you are complaining as a business client, unless you are a “micro business” (as defined by the European Union), you may not be able to use the Legal Ombudsman scheme, and should check the guidance on Legal Ombudsman’s website.
  3. If you refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman as a trustee/personal representative (executor/administrator) or beneficiary of the estate/trust of a person who, before they died, had not referred the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman the period runs from when the deceased should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint; and when the complainant (or the deceased) should reasonably have known there was a cause for complaint will be assessed on the basis of the complainant’s (or deceased’s) own knowledge, disregarding what the complainant (or the deceased) might have been told if he/she had sought advice.
  4. If the ombudsman considers there are exceptional circumstances (e.g. serious illness or you were still within the time limits when you made your initial complaint to them) then he/she may extend any of the above time limits to the extent that he/she considers fair.

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