CLIENT FEEDBACK AND COMPLAINTS
Knights is committed to providing the highest standards of professional legal service to all of our clients. We therefore strive for continuous improvement in all that we do, by listening to and learning from the experiences of our valued clients. Consequently, in the unfortunate event that a client feels dissatisfied with the service they have received, we will endeavour to address their concerns as quickly and fully as possible, through the procedure described below.
You may wish to discuss any feedback or concerns with the individual dealing with your matter informally first, as they may be able to resolve your concerns without the need for a formal complaint.
However, if the complaint cannot be resolved informally, or if you wish to raise a formal complaint regarding the handling of your matter, then please contact our Complaints Team to deal with your concerns as a formal complaint under this policy.
How to make a formal complaint under this policy
To enable us to investigate your concerns, and provide you with a thorough response of your concerns, we need to have a good understanding of the issues. We would therefore welcome hearing from you by email with a brief explanation of:
- Why you feel dissatisfied with the service you have received.
- How you would prefer to be contacted about your complaint going forward.
- If there is anything in particular that you would like us to do to resolve your complaint.
Please address your concerns by email to the Complaints Team: email@example.com, or alternatively, if you prefer, you may write to us at:
Complaints Team, Knights, Midland House, West Way, Botley, Oxford OX2 0PH
If you prefer to telephone, please call 01865 811700 and ask to speak to the Complaints Team to discuss your concerns. In the event that our Complaints Team are engaged in assisting other clients, your call will be returned within one business day.
What happens after I have made a complaint under this policy?
- Send a written acknowledgement of your complaint, by email or by post, within two working days of receipt.
- Investigate the concerns, which may include reviewing your matter file and related records, and discussing the issues with the team who have been working on your matter.
- Let you know promptly if we need any further information from you to assist our investigation. If necessary, we shall arrange a mutually convenient time for a telephone call to discuss your complaint further.
- Write to you to provide a formal final response to your complaint in writing, setting out the conclusion of our investigation and, if appropriate, any proposals to rectify or resolve the matter.
- Remind you that you may be entitled to refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman and provide details for doing so, at the end of our complaints process.
We will not charge you for investigating and responding to your complaint.
Your complaint will be investigated and handled independently of your legal matter. This means that if your legal matter is ongoing it will continue to progress as normal and will not be affected by the complaints procedure, assuming no conflict of interests has arisen and that you continue to comply with the terms of our engagement as set out in our engagement letter and terms of business.
If you have any concerns, whilst your complaint is being investigated, please contact the complaints team.
Do I have to pay my bill if I am complaining?
Our terms and conditions of business provide that our invoices remain payable within 30 days, regardless of the investigation of any complaint. It is therefore important to be aware that, where outstanding monies are due to Knights, all monies due to Knights will be recovered in the normal way, in accordance with our terms and conditions of business. This will progress entirely separately from, and notwithstanding, the investigation of your complaint. Please be assured that, if the outcome of any complaint investigation concludes that any adjustment or reduction in costs should be made, any reimbursement would be paid promptly at that time.
How long will it take?
We will aim to conclude our investigation and provide our final response as quickly as possible. Although we will always aim for sooner, the process may take up to eight weeks from receipt of your complaint. In the unlikely event that we cannot complete our investigations within this timescale, we will let you know in writing and will try to agree any variations with you first. As a guide, this generally only occurs in circumstances where we need the input of third parties outside of Knights, which cannot be obtained within the eight week period.
What might the outcome of my complaint be?
We regret any dissatisfaction which our clients experience and, if our investigation concludes that our service has fallen below our usual high standards, we will not hesitate to apologise. We may also make any proposals that we consider appropriate to resolve or improve your situation, and will take steps internally to ensure that any problems that you have experienced will not reoccur. We will ask you to let us know whether we have succeeded in resolving your concerns, or if you remain dissatisfied.
What if I remain dissatisfied?
If you remain dissatisfied after receiving our final response, or in the unlikely event that you have not received a final response within eight weeks of receiving your complaint, you may be entitled to complain to the Legal Ombudsman about our service. The Legal Ombudsman will normally expect you to have exhausted this complaints procedure before referring to them.
The Legal Ombudsman investigates complaints independently and accessing the service will not affect how we handle your case (if ongoing).
Most private individuals and smaller organisational or business clients will be able to make use of the Legal Ombudsman scheme. However, there are restrictions for larger organisational and business clients. These are set out in the Scheme Rules, which can be accessed on the Legal Ombudsman website, details of which are given below.
Time limits apply to the service, so if you do wish to refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman you should not delay once our own complaints process has concluded. In some circumstances the Legal Ombudsman may consider a complaint out of time, but the general rule is that you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint and either:
- No more than six years from the date of act or omission.
- No more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
Contacting the Legal Ombudsman
You can contact the Legal Ombudsman, or find further information about who can use their service and when, via the details set out below.
Legal Ombudsman Service, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
Tel: 0300 555 0333 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Complaints about your bill
If you are complaining about our bill, in addition to referring your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, you may be entitled to ask the court to assess your costs under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. However, be aware that if you have done so, the Legal Ombudsman may not be able to consider a complaint about the same issues.
Concerns about professional misconduct
The Legal Ombudsman service considers complaints about the quality of legal services that clients’ receive. In the unlikely event that you have more serious concerns that a solicitor or the firm have been involved in professional misconduct then it may be appropriate for you to refer this to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
We do not anticipate any such problems arising and would ask that you notify us straight away if you have any such concerns. You can find out more about the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and the Standards and Regulations that govern the conduct of solicitors and law firms, via the details set out below:
Solicitors Regulation Authority, The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RN
Tel: 0370 606 2555 Web: www.sra.org.uk
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR)
Other ADR services providers exist that are competent to deal with complaints in the legal sector, including ProMediate. However, Knights believes that the Legal Ombudsman offers our clients the most appropriate forum to seek resolution of their concerns. Therefore, we have not adopted an alternative ADR procedure and do not agree to use another ADR organisation.