As a solicitors practice we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority, and the firm is subject to their rules and regulations.
We strive to provide a good service to all of our clients, but if you are not happy with the service that you receive from us then you may follow our formal Complaints Procedure, reproduced below, and you can ask your matter contact/fee-earner for a copy of that procedure at any time.
If you are not satisfied with our attempts to resolve your complaint under our procedure, then in the majority of cases you will be entitled to refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman Service, to whom we are also answerable. Contact details for the Legal Ombudsman and brief details of scheme eligibility are set out within the complaints procedure section below.
If you are a consumer and we have not been able to resolve your complaint, and it relates to a contract that we entered into online or by other electronic means, then you may also be able to submit your complaint to an approved Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) provider in the UK via the EU “ODR platform”, where ODR stands for Online Dispute Resolution.
The ODR platform is an interactive website offering a single point of entry for disputes between consumers and traders relating to online contracts. The ODR platform is available to consumer clients only, i.e. where you have instructed us for “purposes outside of your trade, business, craft or profession”.
The website address for the ODR platform online is http://ec.europa.eu/odr.
You have indicated that you have a complaint about the services that we provided, and this is the procedure which we follow in respect of complaints.
Initially, please write to us setting out the details of your complaint. We will then deal with your complaint as follows:
- We will record your complaint in our central register.
- We will write to you within 2 working days acknowledging your complaint, and informing you who will be investigating and responding on behalf of the firm – ordinarily either our Operations Manager (for Blacks Direct/Blacks Connect matters), or a senior solicitor in the firm’s Risk & Compliance Team.
- The email/letter will explain how the complaint will be investigated, and will give you a date (usually 14 days later) by which the investigation will be complete.
- The person investigating the complaint will take the following steps:
- the matter will be discussed with the personnel handling the file; and
- the file, together with all appropriate documents, will be examined.
- If for any reason (for example, complexity of the matter or the absence of relevant personnel) it is not possible to complete the investigation within 14 days, then we will write to you to advise you of that and provide you with an alternative date, which will be as soon as possible.
- We may arrange to meet you or to speak on the phone to discuss and hopefully to resolve your complaint.
- If that step is not taken or the complaint is not resolved by it, we will send a detailed reply by way of Formal Response to your complaint. That letter or email will also explain what to do if you are not satisfied by that Response.
- If you are not satisfied, then you can write to us again to request a review of our decision. The review will be an escalation of the matter- to the Risk & Compliance Team or to a Partner in the firm (as the case may be). The reviewer will review the complaint afresh against and the file and the Response and come to their own conclusion.
- They will then write to you within a further 14 days, and will set out the firms Final Position on the matter.
- We aim to complete this complaints process within a period of eight weeks. If, after this time or following receipt of the Final Position, you are still not satisfied, you can contact:
PO Box 6806
Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
who may consider your complaint further. This service is only available to members of the public, prospective clients, very small businesses, charities, clubs and trusts. Any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must be made within certain time limits and the Legal Ombudsman can only accept complaints where:
- the problem or when you found out about it happened after 5 October 2010; and
- you are referring your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within either of the following: six years of the problem happening, or three years from when you found out about it; and
- you are referring your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of our final response.
Partner Paul Kelly has overall responsibility for complaints, delegated day to day to Blacks’ Risk & Compliance team (RCT) which comprises senior solicitors focused exclusively on firm governance.