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Our Complaints Procedure

Patricia White Lawyers & Advocates Ltd (“PW-LA”) is committed to providing an inclusive and high standard of service to our clients.  There may be occasions when you may feel that the service you expected does not match that which we deliver.   We do not want you to feel this way and want all of our clients to be able to feel that they can speak to us if there is a problem so that we can address any concerns and review our service delivery.

If you have a complaint about the service you have received from us or the handling of your case please contact us as soon as you feel there is something not right.  We will respond to any concerns you raise quickly and efficiently.

Your complaint must in the first instance be addressed to Patricia White either by letter, email or telephone call.  If by email this should marked ‘Complaint’ and be sent to:  patriciaw@pw-la.co.uk

Due to the regulation of legal services, in the first instance you should make your complaint to us within 6 months of the last correspondence you receive from us or 1 year of the act or omission about which you are complaining occurred.

If you have any special needs to enable you to bring your complaint to us please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate them.

To help us make sure we have understood your complaint, and not miss anything, please tell us:

  • your full name, contact details and any reference number you may have for your case;

  • what you think we have done wrong; and

  • what you think we should do to put things right.

 

How we will deal with a complaint

We have up to 8 weeks to consider your complaint and will endeavour to deal with it as quickly as possible. We will not charge you for handling your complaint but please note that if we have issued a bill for work done on the matter, and all or some of the bill is not paid, we may be entitled to charge interest on the amount outstanding.   If we have not resolved it within 8 weeks you may be able to have the complaint independently looked at by the Legal Ombudsman. 

 

The Legal Ombudsman investigates complaints relating to poor service, but before accepting a complaint for investigation the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, and you are not satisfied with the outcome, then you can take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:

  • Within six months of receiving a final response from us to your complaint and

  • No more than one year from the date of the act / omission that gave rise to the complaint; or

  • No more than one year from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.

The legal Ombudsman can be contacted by:

As the firm is authorised by the CILEX, if your complaint relates to the misconduct of a CILEX Approved Manager, CILEX member or CILEX Practitioner, you can refer your complaint free of charge to CILEx Regulation for them to investigate. Misconduct is defined as any breach of the CILEX Code of Conduct: 2.-Code-of-Conduct-2019.pdf (cilexregulation.org.uk) Misconduct complaints must be made within 12 months of the act or omission that gave rise to the complaint or within 12 months of the complainant having knowledge of the act or omission that gave rise to the complaint, whichever is the greater. CILEx Regulation can be contacted by:

 

 

PW-LA Investigation Process

Our internal investigation process is set out below:

 

Stage 1

  1. We will send you a letter acknowledging receipt of your complaint within 4 working days from the date we receive your communication and it will be recorded in our central register. A complaint file will be opened and we will send you a copy of this procedure, which explains how your complaint will be handled.

  2. Patricia White will fully investigate your complaint and will provide a substantive response within 28 working days from the date of our letter of acknowledgement.

  3. If your complaint is particularly complex we may have to change the standard timescales.  We will let you know if this is necessary and explain to you why and provide you with an   updated timescale.

  4. We may be able to deal with the matter in a phone call, or we may need to carry out a       detailed review of your case.   We may also request documents from you and want to arrange a meeting with you to discuss the complaint. If further information is needed, we will tell you how long it is likely to take us to complete our investigation and keep you informed of developments.

  5. In all cases we will write to you with a detailed reply to your complaint to tell you the outcome within 4 working days of completion of our investigation. 

 

Stage 2

  1. Upon completion of the Stage 1 above, if you remain dissatisfied, we will give you the opportunity to have your complaint reviewed.  When contacting us please explain why you continue to be dissatisfied.   We will also invite you to discuss the matter with us if it appears that this may resolve your concerns.

  2. Within 4 working days of a meeting, where one is held, we will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions we have agreed with you.

  3. Within 14 working days of receiving your request for a review, (where a meeting has been held, within 14 working days of that meeting) we will write to you confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons.

 

 

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) bodies such as ProMediate of Brow Farm, Top Road, Frodsham WA6 6SP, www.promediate.co.uk exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme. Currently we do not agree to using an ADR scheme as we believe our own inhouse investigation supported where necessary by that provided independently by the Legal Ombudsman and CILEx Regulation is sufficient.

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