When should I make a complaint and to whom?
Practices regulated by The CLC are bound to comply with the Regulatory Arrangements which set out the professional standards we expect of all firms and individuals. However, if you have not received the standard of service you could reasonably expect, you should complain to your lawyer. If you are not satisfied with how they deal with your complaint - or they have not responded within eight weeks of you submitting the complaint - you can complain to the independent Legal Ombudsman:
PO Box 6806
Telephone number: 0300 555 0333
Your complaint should be submitted to the Legal Ombudsman within six years from the date of the act or omission and within 3 years of the date that you should reasonably have known there were grounds for complaint. If your complaint is service-related the Legal Ombudsman will deal with it and may ultimately award you compensation which your lawyer must pay to you.
If your complaint is conduct related the Legal Ombudsman will pass it to us to deal with.
If we determine the conduct complaint in your favour we may take regulatory action against the person or body which delivered your legal service. We will always seek to deal with an issue informally wherever possible so that it can be resolved in a timely manner for you. If however, an issue is immediate, serious and/or widespread, or where an informal approach has not been successful, we will take enforcement action.
We may fine them; place conditions on their licence (which, if not complied with, will result in further enforcement steps being taken); reprimand them; withdraw our approval of, or disqualify, an individual (meaning they can no longer be employed in that capacity); suspend, or even revoke their licence (so they are no longer able to practise) We may use one of these enforcement options, we may use several. Where a body is failing, we have reason to suspect dishonesty or need to protect your interests as clients (or beneficiaries of a related Trust) we will intervene. This means we will manage the closure of the business (and the transfer of your matter to another person/body).