We welcome your views on our experience with us. We strive to provide our clients with the best advice and service that we possibly can. Your feedback is essential to ensure that we continue to improve our service and ultimately the experience for our client.
At the conclusion of your case we will send you a feedback form and will invite you to let us know about your experience. We are confident that you will be satisfied with our efforts to assist you.
We look forward to hearing from you.
If you have any concerns about the conduct of your case then please contact us and further information can be found below about our complaints procedure.
Credence Law Group is committed to high quality legal advice and client care. This policy set out what constitutes a complaint, who deals with them, how they are dealt with and what can be learnt from them to improve service.
What is a complaint?
A complaint is defined as an expression of dissatisfaction (oral or written). A complaint does not have to be labelled as, or contain the word, ‘complaint’.
A complaint can be made by a client, but also any other party with whom a member of staff, or those they instruct, has any dealings with in a professional capacity. This could include Counsel, agents, experts, court staff and police.
If a complaint is made by one member of staff with regards another, this will be dealt with under our Grievance Procedure.
Who deals with complaints?
Tiffany Meredith has overall responsibility for complaints handling, but every partner has the authorisation and training to handle formal complaints.
How are complaints dealt with?
As per the client care letter, if a client or other party has a minor issue or complaint, they are encouraged in the first instance to speak to the lawyer dealing with their case or the member of staff they have been dealing with, to discuss the issue and resolve it on an informal basis. A record of this conversation should be kept as a telephone attendance note in the usual way. If both parties are happy that the matter is resolved within the conversation, the lawyer need not then go further with the remainder of the procedure below.
If a client has expressed that they are unhappy about any aspect of the service they have received or about the bill, and this was not resolved with the lawyer in a conversation as above, the complaint should be directed to Tiffany Meredith or the Partner of the office to which the complaint or client relates. Any formal complaints received by telephone, face to face or in writing directly to a fee earner or member of staff should be forwarded as soon as practicable to Tiffany Meredith or another relevant Partner in her absence. That person will then open a complaint file under the Central Register for Complaints. All correspondence and notes of telephone conversations should be placed within that file.
If the complaint is received in a client feedback questionnaire, Tiffany Meredith, or Lowri Marks in her absence, should contact the client by telephone as if they were the lawyer dealing and discuss the matter with the client to seek to clarify the issues. The client should be asked if they wish to make a formal complaint or simply leave comments. If they wish to make a complaint, the remainder of the policy should be followed.
Level of complaint
The Partner should seek to ascertain the level of the complaint at this stage as being minor, moderate or serious and note this on a Complaints Form, along with the nature of the complaint.
If the complaint is categorised as minor, the Partner should seek to speak to the client on the telephone as soon as practicable to discuss immediate remedial action. If the client is satisfied with that discussion and the action proposed, this should be noted on the complaints form. No further correspondence may be necessary unless specifically requested by the client or necessitated by the action proposed. The Partner should review the matter after seven days to ensure the remedial action has taken place and the client is now satisfied.
Moderate or serious
If the complaint is categorised as moderate or serious, a letter, or email if appropriate, will be sent by the Partner within three working days acknowledging the complaint and providing a copy of the Complaints Procedure, a summary of which will already have been provided in the Client Care letter, and the full version of which is available on the CLG website.
The Partner will then investigate the complaint and provide a response within five working days of the complaint being received in writing (including by email). If the Partner is unable to respond fully within this time, the Partner will contact the client to confirm a revised timetable and reasons why the investigation and response cannot be provided within the original time frame. At the conclusion of the investigation, the Partner should consider whether the complaint is justified or not justified.
If the client remains unhappy having received the response, the Partner will arrange a meeting (in person or by telephone or social media platform such as Skype) within fourteen days of sending the first acknowledgement letter.
Within five working days of having the meeting, the Partner will write to the client with a proposed solution. If the client is satisfied with the proposed solution, the Partner should enact the proposal and confirm in writing seven days thereafter that the agreed action has been taken and the complaint file will then be closed. If this cannot take place within seven days, the Partner should agree a timetable with the client and complete the agree action as soon as practicable. The complaint file may then be closed.
If the proposed solution remains unsatisfactory to the client, the Partners as a collective will consider the matter further and provide a final written response to the client within fourteen days of the confirmation that the previous proposed solution remains unsatisfactory.
CLG has eight weeks in total to consider and deal with a complaint. If the client remains unhappy having received the final written response, the client will be directed to the Legal Ombudsman with all the relevant contact details being provided, as in our Client Care letter.
If the complaint is in relation to a bill, the final written response will include a reminder that the client has a right to challenge any bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974 which entitles them to ask a court to assess our bill.
Outcome and Considerations
The Partners must consider the outcome of the Legal Ombudsman’s investigation and identify any corrective action required including any direct action with regards individual fee earners which must follow the Disciplinary Procedure. This will only apply where complaints are justified. The Partners should then consider any additional training or changes in processes or procedures required which would improve service for the future. This will occur at the next Partner’s if it is imminent, or sooner if it is not.
Complaints data – Review and Analysis
Tiffany Meredith will review and analyse complaints data regularly in order to establish root causes and trends, prevent further complaints and improve service. Tiffany Meredith will conduct an annual review of the Complaints Procedure itself and provide at least annual training of complaints handling for members of staff and Partners, but more focused training to particular members of staff in response to specific complaints.