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Guidance to assist case managers considering raising a complaint about a solicitor or law firm

First steps when dealing with an issue

The case manager should do this informally in the first instance by making the solicitor or legal firm aware that they are unhappy with their service or have concerns about a solicitor or associate. A case manager may be asked to do this on behalf of their client or may feel they have a duty of care to report a legal professional or service. Following this informal approach the solicitor or legal firm may make changes to their practice or approach which may be sufficient to resolve the issue.

If this does not resolve matters to the case manager’s satisfaction then the case manager should follow the complaints procedure of the solicitors firm usually available from their website. Put in writing your complaint and await a reply within their stipulated timescale. This may enable you to resolve your complaint but you cannot take your complaint further if you haven’t undergone this step first.

If the complaint is not resolved

If this doesn’t resolve matters within 8 weeks, you can then contact the following organisations:

The Legal Ombudsman will deal with complaints which relate to poor service from a solicitor or legal firm, providing you have followed the legal firm’s complaints procedure first and have not had things resolved to your satisfaction. The Legal Ombudsman will deal with complaints regarding not responding to you or your emails, losing documents or giving unclear advice, charging you an amount you are not happy with, or not explaining issues properly so you don’t understand. A template of a complaint letter is available by clicking here.

Or if your complaint relates to dishonesty or if you feel your solicitor has treated you unfairly you should contact the Solicitors Regulation Authority. If the solicitor has breached the SRA principles or also if there is non-payment of an expert fees you should register a complaint. You can use its report form to make a complaint. The SRA can restrict the solicitors’ practice or in extreme cases close a legal firm.

Should the professional you are working with be qualified through CILEx then you may also direct your complaint to them. You can do this by completing the form below. Alternatively, you may send your complaint to CILEx Regulation by any other means (for example, by letter or email), however, it helps the body if you can complete the CILEx Regulation complaints form as it is designed to ask you questions that will help with its investigation. CILEx Regulation also has guidance about how it handles the complaints it receives, which explains the complaints procedure it follows. Further information and the complaints form can be found by clicking here.

Should you consider that you want to reach a broader audience, other organisations you may wish to raise a complaint with include:

  • APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers): If the solicitor in question is registered with APIL, then the Association can investigate and, should it be required, it may remove the individual from its register.
  • Headway: If the complaint relates to a solicitor working with a client with a brain injury and the solicitor is listed on its preferred providers list then the case manager can inform the national Headway charity and it will consider whether to remove them from its list.

For further information please contact us today.

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