Have you got a complaint against Buckworths?
We hope that you will never have reason to complain about our service to you or a bill of costs that we send to you. However, if something does go wrong or the bill appears to be incorrect, please bring it to our attention as soon as you can. We will try to resolve the matter fairly and quickly.
The firm’s complaints partner is Michael Buckworth who is responsible for this procedure.
How do I complain?
We much prefer that substantial or complicated complaints are dealt with in writing – we do not have any set forms that we use for this purpose. This document will then form the basis of the complaint.
Who do I complain to?
Please address all complaints to Michael Buckworth.
What will happen next?
We will send you a letter acknowledging receipt of your complaint within three days of receiving it, enclosing a copy of this procedure.
We will then investigate your complaint. This will normally involve passing your complaint to Michael Buckworth who will review your matter file and speak to the member of staff who acted for you.
Michael Buckworth will then write to you with his findings within 21 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter. However, if the complaint is complicated further time may be needed. If so, Michael Buckworth will write and tell you and set another time limit.
Michael Buckworth will send you a detailed written reply to your complaint, including his suggestions for resolving the matter.
At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, you should contact us again and we will arrange for another unconnected with the matter at the firm to review his decision.
We will write to you within 14 days of receiving your request for a review, confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons.
If you are still not satisfied
If you are still not satisfied, you can contact:
PO Box 15870
Solicitors Regulation Authority
199 Wharfside Street
Birmingham, B1 1RN
about your complaint.
There is a body called the Legal Ombudsman, an independent body that handles complaints about legal services. Its details are The Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 15870, Birmingham, B30 9EB, telephone 0300 555 0333.
The Legal Ombudsman has produced three helpful booklets to guide you if you have a complaint. You can find them on the Legal Ombudsman’s website. They are called “Here to Help”, “Making a complaint” and “Guide to good complaints handling”.
You can ask the Legal Ombudsman to become involved at the end our internal complaints procedure, if you are unhappy with the outcome. The Legal Ombudsman has a helpline if you need to speak to them about how to make a complaint. Calls are charged at a local rate and will be recorded. There is no charge for the Ombudsman’s services.
Legal Ombudsman’s time limits
Please see the Ombudsman’s guide “What to do if you have a complaint” for more detail.
The Ombudsman will allow us a period of 8 weeks to resolve your complaint. The Ombudsman asks that you come to it as soon as you can and within 6 months of your last contact with us.
Ordinarily, you must make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within a year of the matter giving rise to the complaint or a year from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint without taking advice from a third party, whichever is later. The Legal Ombudsman can increase any time limit in exceptional circumstances e.g. if there is serious illness.
Solicitors Regulation Authority
We are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and the SRA deals with complaints where firms have breached the SRA Principles (https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/who-we-are/sra-regulate/#principles). The SRA does not have the power to award compensation for poor service, or to reduce or refund your legal fees.
If you have made a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman but the Legal Ombudsman thinks your case involves a breach of the SRA’s Principles, they will refer your case to the SRA.
Likewise, if you make a complaint to the SRA in respect of matters outside of their remit, such as poor service, the SRA will refer you to the Legal Ombudsman.
You can also report a firm for non-payment of professional fees (such as agent or expert fees) if
- you have a County Court judgment in respect of the fee, and
- the judgment relates to the practice in connection with providing a legal service.
Data Protection Complaints
Complaints regarding a data subject request under the Data Protection Act 2016 are dealt with in accordance with this policy. In respect of a data protection complaint you may contact the Information Commissioner’s Office.