Making a complaint

Our objective is to always deliver the highest level of client satisfaction, and we provide a clear procedure if you have any reason to be unhappy with our service.

Client satisfaction is SA Law’s driving focus, and a key reason we have held The Law Society’s Lexcel accreditation for over 10 years. We have a proven track record for consistently high standards of legal advice, and the client-focused manner in which we deliver it.

If you are ever unhappy with our service, please let us know immediately and we will do everything we can to resolve the issue. Making a complaint will not adversely affect how we undertake your work. One of SA Law’s key principles is continuous improvement, and advising us about issues helps us to meet this objective.

Notifying us about a concern

First, we recommend contacting the solicitor who is working on your case as they are often best placed to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

If you feel your concern has not been addressed, then please see our complaints procedure and contact Chris Wilks, our Compliance Officer.

We always welcome feedback about our services, so to discuss this further please contact Chris with any positive or negative experiences, or to suggest any service improvements. These will be passed on to the relevant team members and can be included within our training and mentoring programmes to help us continually improve our service to clients.

Contacting the Legal Ombudsman about the handling of your case

If you are still unsatisfied at this stage, you can also request the assistance of the Legal Ombudsman, which investigates complaints about service providers in a fair and independent way.

The Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first, and then investigate it independently. Bear in mind that the complaint must:

  • be made within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint from us
  • be submitted no longer than six years from the date of the event you wish to complain about
  • or no more than three years from when you should have reasonably known there was cause for complaint.

That said, in exceptional circumstances the Ombudsman may still accept your complaint outside of these time limits. You can learn more about the Legal Ombudsman on their website.

Raising a concern about SA Law to the SRA

If you are concerned about the behaviour of the firm or a member of the SA Law team, you can submit your complaint to the Solicitors Regulation Authority, which regulates solicitors and law firms in both England and Wales. The SRA will investigate complaints in relation to dishonesty, discrimination or misconduct. The SRA will provide a report on their findings. This will not affect the handling of your case.

SA Law complaints procedure

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What is a complaint?

We regard a complaint as any expression of dissatisfaction, either verbally or in writing. If you have any reason to be unhappy with the service you get from SA Law, please notify us as soon as possible. Our objective is to provide you with an exceptional service, and we welcome feedback at all times.

How do we resolve complaints?

In the first instance, we recommend contacting the solicitor who is working on your matter as they are best placed to address your concern as quickly as possible.

If you feel your concern has still not been resolved, please write to Chris Wilks, our Compliance Officer for the Legal Practice (COLP). You can contact him on: 01727 798081, chris.wilks@salaw.com or at Gladstone Place, 36-38 Upper Marlborough Road, St Albans, Hertfordshire AL1 3UU.

Once your complaint has been received, we will undertake the procedure outlined below within the timescales indicated. If these timescales change for any reason, we will notify you as soon as possible, and explain why.

What is our complaints procedure?

SA Law’s official complaints procedure is as follows:

  1. We will send you a letter to acknowledge your complaint, and may ask you to explain any additional details. You should receive this acknowledgement within five working days.
  2. On receipt of your reply with the additional details, your complaint will be recorded in our central register.
  3. We will send you a further letter to acknowledge receipt of the additional details, and will confirm what will happen next. You can expect this communication within five days.
  4. We will investigate your complaint, and notify you about how long we estimate this will take. Our investigation may involve one or more of the following steps:
    - Examination of your client file
    - Discussions with relevant staff members and the partner supervising your matter.
  5. We will then either write to you (see paragraph 7) or invite you to meet the supervising partner and/or Chris Wilks. This meeting will occur within 21 days of having received your initial letter of complaint.
  6. If you choose to meet us, we will contact you within 14 days to confirm what took place at the meeting, and any solutions that we have agreed with you.
  7. If you are unable to attend a meeting, we will send a detailed response to you within 35 days of having received your initial letter of complaint. This will outline our suggestion for resolving the situation.
  8. If we have to change the timescales above we will let you know and explain why.
  9. If for any reason we are unable to resolve the issue, then you may refer the matter to the Legal Ombudsman, which provides a non-judicial means of settling disputes for cases that fall within its remit. They can be contacted at:

The Legal Ombudsman

PO Box 6806

Wolverhampton

WV1 9WJ.

Please note that you must refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:

  • within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint from us
  • and no longer than six years from the date of the event you wish to complain about
  • or no more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.

However, in exceptional circumstances the Ombudsman may accept complaints outside of these time limits.

While the Ombudsman is able to deal with most complaints, you should contact them directly to find out if they can assist with your specific issue. Call them on 0300 555 0333, or visit www.legalombudsman.org.uk.