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Complaints Procedure

Our Complaints Policy

Coles Solicitors Limited 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 Procedure

If you have a complaint, please contact Peter Gibson, our complaints handling Director.  You can write to him at Coles Solicitors Limited, Century House, Thornfield Business Park, Standard Way, Northallerton, DL6 2XQ or email Peter here.

We do monitor social media for expressions of dissatisfaction with our services, however please note that these will not be treated formally as complaints under this procedure.

What Will Happen Next?

  1. Within three working days a Director will make contact with you to acknowledge your complaint. Your file(s) and any other documentation relevant to your complaint will then be reviewed.
  2. Your complaint will be recorded in our central register.
  3. If it seems appropriate the Director will suggest a meeting at this stage. They would hope to be in a position to meet with you no longer than 14 working days after first receiving your complaint.  Within three working days after any meeting the Director will write to you to confirm what took place and any suggestions that have been agreed.
  4. If you would prefer not to meet, or if we cannot arrange this within an agreeable timescale or if it is not appropriate to arrange a meeting the Director will review your complaint and write to you within 14 days from the date of the acknowledgement of your complaint (as 1 above) setting out their views on the situation and any redress that they would feel to be appropriate.
  5. At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, please let the Director know. Another Director will then review the decision.
  6. We will let you know the result of the review within five working days of the end of the review. At this time we will write to you confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons.
  7. If you are still not satisfied, you can then contact the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) about your complaint.

Ordinarily, a complainant cannot use the Legal Ombudsman unless the complainant has first used the firm’s internal complaints procedure. But a complainant can use the Legal Ombudsman if:

a) The complaint has not been resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction within eight weeks of first making the compliant to the firm; or

b) an Ombudsman considers that there are exceptional reasons to consider the complaint sooner, or, without it having been made to the firm first; or

c) where an Ombudsman considers that in house resolution is not possible due to irretrievable breakdown in the relationship between the firm and the complainant.

A complainant to the Legal Ombudsman must be one of the following:

  1. An individual;
  2. A micro-enterprise as defined in European Recommendation 2003/361/EC of 6 May 2003 (broadly, an enterprise with fewer than 10 staff and a turnover or balance sheet value not exceeding €2 million);
  3. A charity with an annual income less than £1 million;
  4. A club, association or society with an annual income less than £1 million;
  5. A trustee of a trust with a net asset value less than £1 million; or
  6. a personal representative or the residuary beneficiaries of an estate where a person with a complaint died before referring it to the Legal Ombudsman.

If you are none of the above, you should be aware that you can only obtain redress by using our Complaints Handling Procedure or by mediation or arbitration, or by taking action through the Courts.  There are time limits for bringing a claim, linked to the date of the act or omission giving rise to the complaint or the date on which you should reasonably have known there were grounds for complaint.  The relevant time limits are set out in the current version of the LeO Scheme Rules in force from time to time and may only be extended by the LeO in exceptional circumstances.  If you wish to bring a complaint to him, you should refer to the version which is in force at the time of your complaint.

Legal Ombudsman Contact Details

Address:             PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ

Telephone:          0300 555 0333

Email:                 enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

Website:             www.legalombudsman.org.uk

 

8. Complaining to the Solicitors Regulation Authority

The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help you if you are concerned about our 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.

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

Telephone:       0370 606 2555

Email:              report@sra.org.uk

Website:          www.sra.org.uk

 

9. Alternative Dispute Resolution

Where we are not able to settle your complaint using our internal complaints process, there are alternative complaints bodies (such as the Ombudsman Services) which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme.

Please let us know if you would like to consider using an alternative complaints body to resolve your complaint.