Garner & Hancock complaints policy
We at Garner & Hancock are committed to provide a high quality legal service to all our clients. When something goes wrong we need you to tell us about it. This will help us to improve our standards.
Our complaints procedure
If you have a complaint, write to us with the details.
General outline on handling complaints
- We will send you a letter acknowledging your complaint and asking you to confirm or explain the details set out. We will also let you know the name of the person who will be dealing with your complaint. You can expect to receive our letter acknowledged within 14 days of us receiving your complaint. This will allow us to obtain the file and speak to the relevant fee earner. Our practice manger will also allocate a case worker and investigator to look into matters. This can be a director or someone within the firm.
- We will record your complaint in our Central Register and open a separate file for your complaint. We will do this within 14 days of receiving your complaint.
- We will acknowledge your reply to our acknowledgement letter and confirm what will happen next. You can expect to hear from us within 14 days of your reply.
- We will then start to investigate your complaint. This will normally involve the following steps:
- We will pass your complaint to the Practice Manger and our our designated Complaints Partner, within 14 days.
- He will ask the member of staff who acted for you to reply to your complaint within 14 days.
- He will then examine the reply and the information in your complaint file. If necessary he may also speak to them. This will take up to 14 days from receiving the reply and the file.
- The Practice Manager or Complaints Handling Partner will then invite you to meet and discuss, and we hope, resolve your complaint. He will do this within 14 days of step 4 concluding.
- Within 14 days days of the meeting or discussing on the phone with the Practice Manager or Complaints Handling Partner will write to you to confirm what took place and any solution he has agreed with you. If you do not want a meeting or discuss matters or it has not been possible to set up such a meeting or conversation, the Practice Manager or Complaints Handling Partner, will send you a detailed reply to your complaint. This will include his suggestions for resolving the matter. He will do this within 14 days of completing his investigations.
- At this stage, if you are still not satisfied you can write to us again. We will then arrange to review our decision. This will happen in one of the following ways:
- Another partner of the firm will review the decision within 14 days;
- We will invite you to agree to independent mediation within 14 days. We will let you know how long this process will take.
- We will let you know the result of the review within 14 days of the end of the review. At this time we will write to you confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons.
- If we have to change any of the timescales above, we will let you know and explain why.
- We will also give you the name and address of the Legal Ombudsman (LEO). If you are still not satisfied, you can contact them about your complaint. The LEO will normally investigate complaints within six years from the act/omission complained of or three years from you realising the cause of your complaint. You must refer to the LEO within six months of the date of our written response to your complaint. The LEO may consider it appropriate to refer the matter to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
Individual Complaints Plan
These are general guidelines on our complaints handling process and timescales. However whenever you start a complaint we shall endeavour to send you an individual plan which will provide more detail as to who will investigate and who will report to you on the complaint with timescales. The timescales of investigation and reporting can depend on the complexity of the matter and the extent of your complaint made. It will also depend on availability of the fee earner, the Practice Manager and the Complaints Handling Partner. We may also suggest that you first go back to the solicitor/fee earner concerned to see if you can resolve matters first before commencing a formal complaints process.
The address for the Legal Ombudsman is:
PO Box 6806
Helpline: 0300 555 0333
The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help you if you are concerned about our behaviour. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, sex, race, a disability or other characteristic.
You can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
If you are unhappy about how the LeO or SRA have dealt with your complaint you can complain to the Legal Services Ombudsman (LSO), who is responsible for dealing with complaints about legal professional bodies. The address for the Legal Services Ombudsman is:
Legal Services Ombudsman
3rd Floor Sunlight House
Quay Street Manchester
Helpline: 0845 601 0794
In addition to directing a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman (LEO) you will be able to refer your dispute for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). There are three Institutions available to deal with disputes in the legal services sector, namely the Ombudsman Services,Middlesex Law Society and Small Claims Mediation. If required, we will provide contact details for those mediation services.