Complaints Policy and Procedure
Eaton Smith LLP is committed to providing a high-quality legal service to all its clients. When something goes wrong we need you to tell us. This will help us to improve our standards.
Our complaints procedure
If you have a complaint about our service or a bill that we have rendered, please contact our Complaint Handling Partner, Phil Clarke, who will liaise with the Partner in charge of the department involved in your complaint and/or fee earner with conduct of the matter to which your complaint is related. If the complaint is about Phil Clarke or Phil Clarke is unavailable, then Mike Webb, Deputy Complaint Handling Partner and Senior Partner, will deal with your complaint.
Phil Clarke and Mike Webb can be contacted via our switchboard, which is 01484 821 300 or by email to: PhilipClarke@eatonsmith.co.uk or MikeWebb@eatonsmith.co.uk or by post to Eaton Smith LLP, 14 High Street, HD1 2HA.
what will happen next
- We will send you a letter acknowledging your complaint together with a copy of our Complaints Policy as soon as possible and usually within 3 working days of receiving the complaint.
- We will record your complaint in a central register and open a file for it. We will do this as soon as possible and usually within 3 working days of receiving your complaint.
- We will then investigate your complaint. This may involve one of the following steps:
- We may review the relevant file.
- The member of staff who acted for you may be asked to provide us with a reply to your complaint within seven working days.
- We may examine their reply and the information in your complaint file. We may ask you for more information.
- We may discuss your complaint with the member of staff and the Partner in charge of the department involved in your complaint.
- Normally within 14 working days of acknowledging your complaint we will either:
- Invite you to meet Phil Clarke, the Complaints Handling Partner, or Mike Webb, the Deputy Complaints Handling Partner and Senior Partner, to discuss and hopefully resolve your complaint; or
- We will send you a detailed reply to your complaint which will include our suggestions for resolving the matter.
- Where we have held a meeting with you, we will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions that have been agreed as soon as possible and usually within 3 working days of meeting.
- At this stage, if you are still not satisfied you can write to us again. We will then, if appropriate, arrange to review our decision by a Partner unconnected with the matter or the earlier stages of the complaint.
- We will usually inform you of the result of the review within a further 14 workings days. At this time we will write to you confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons.
- If we have to alter any of the above timescales, we will let you know and explain why.
- If you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint or your complaint has not been resolved to your satisfaction within eight weeks of you making the complaint to us or you have not received a response from us within that time frame, you can ask the Legal Ombudsman to review the matter. Their address is PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ; email firstname.lastname@example.org; tel 0300 555 0333 or 0121 245 3050.
- There are time limits within which complaints must be made to the Legal Ombudsman. Generally speaking your complaint should be made to the Ombudsman 6 years from the act/ omission or 3 years from when the complainant should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint. In addition, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint.
- Please note that the Legal Ombudsman may not consider a complaint about a bill if you have applied to the Court for assessment of the bill.
Please note that the Legal Ombudsman can only investigate complaints made by:-
- An individual;
- An enterprise which, at the time at which the complaint is made to us, is a micro-enterprise within the meaning of Article 1 and Article 2(1) and and (3) of the Annexe to Commission Recommendation 2003/361EC;
- A charity with an annual income net of tax or less than £1million at the time the complaint is made to us.
- A club, association or organisation, the affairs of which are managed by its members or a committee or committees of its members, with an annual income net of tax of less than £1million at the time at which you make the complaint to us;
- A trustee of a trust with an asset value of less than £1 million at the time at which the complaint is made to us;
- A personal representative of an estate of a person or a beneficiary of an estate of a person where the person was a client of our firm who has subsequently died and who has not by the time of his or her death referred the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman themselves.