Complaints Procedure

Our Policy on Client Services

Clifford James Consultants Limited is committed to meeting the highest quality standard in the delivery of the services we provide to our clients. We take any problems that do arise with clients very seriously indeed and aim to ensure that any complaints clients may have are identified quickly and dealt with thoroughly in accordance with this procedure.

Every client has the benefit of the Managing Director who is ultimately responsible for the relevant piece of work being carried out ft. In some cases the Managing Director is actively involved in that work. In others the work is delegated under the supervision of a Fee Earner. The Managing Director will make every effort to ensure that the standard of services provided by the firm meets the client’s expectations.

Who do I make my Complaint to?

You can register your complaint with the Managing Director, Stewart Fairhurst. To do so please contact him via the following means:

Post at our address; or
E-mail to consultants@clifford-james.com; or
Telephone on 0844 88 050 88; or
In person.

Please mark all correspondence with your reference number to allow us to investigate your complaint quickly.

Should you wish to make a complaint, then please make the complaint as soon as possible as we will be unable to consider a complaint relating to our legal services made more than 12 months after the cause of the complaint and 6 months after the cause of the complaint if it relates to our insurance services.

How do we investigate your Complaint?

We will send you a letter acknowledging receipt of your complaint within three days of us receiving the complaint, enclosing a copy of this procedure. It will be logged centrally within the firm so that we can monitor progress on how it is being handled. The identity of the person handling your complaint will set out in this letter and a copy of this procedure will be included.

We will then investigate your complaint. This will normally involve passing your complaint to Managing Director, Stewart Fairhurst, who is in charge of client care and he will review your matter file and speak to the member of staff who acted for you.

Stewart Fairhurst will then respond to you and hopefully resolve your complaint. He will do this within 14 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.

Our Response

Stewart Fairhurst will send you a detailed written reply to your complaint, including his suggestions for resolving the matter, within 21 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.

Our aim is to respond to your complaint in full within 21 days, and we are able to achieve that in most cases. If however that will not be possible, we will let you know when you will receive a full response. A review of your file with the person handling the matter will be conducted by the Managing Director. He will make any wider enquiries internally that may be necessary.

If we have to change any of the timescales above, we will let you know and explain why.

Decision Review

At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, you should contact us again and we will arrange for Stewart Fairhurst to review his decision. In the alternative we will ask for a review of Stewart Fairhurst’s decision to be carried out by another solicitor.

We will write to you within 14 days of receiving your request for a review, confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons.

Legal Ombudsman and Alternative Dispute Resolution

If you are still not satisfied with our response to a matter relating to our legal services, you can then contact the Legal Ombudsman.

If we have been unable to settle your complaint using our internal complaints process, you have a right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman, an independent complaints body, established under the Legal Services Act 2007, which deals with legal services complaints.

You have six months from the date of our final determination of your complaint in which to complain to the Legal Ombudsman.

The Legal Ombudsman can be contacted as follows:

Post to Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 15870, Birmingham, B30 9EB
Telephone on 0300 555 0333 (9am – 5pm).
E-mail to enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

Before it will consider a complaint, the Legal Ombudsman generally requires that the firm’s internal Complaints Procedure has been exhausted. If the Legal Ombudsman is satisfied that the firm’s proposals for resolving a complaint are reasonable, it may decline to investigate further. Any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within six months of the date of our final decision on your complaint but for further information, you should contact the Legal Ombudsman or see their website www.legalombudsman.org.uk

Alternative complaints bodies (such as Small Claims Mediation – www.small-claims-mediation.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.

Financial Ombudsman and Alternative Dispute Resolution

If you are still not satisfied with our response to a matter relating to our insurance services or an insurance product, you may be entitled to refer the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

You have six months from the date of our final determination of your complaint in which to complain to the Financial Ombudsman.

The Financial Ombudsman can be contacted as follows:

Post to The Financial Ombudsman Service, Exchange Tower, London, E14 9SR
Telephone on 0800 023 4567.
E-mail to complaint.info@financial-ombudsman.org.uk

Before it will consider a complaint, the Financial Ombudsman generally requires that the firm’s internal Complaints Procedure has been exhausted. If the Financial Ombudsman is satisfied that the firm’s proposals for resolving a complaint are reasonable, it may decline to investigate further. Any complaint to the Financial Ombudsman must usually be made within six months of the date of our final decision on your complaint but for further information, you should contact the Financial Ombudsman or see their website www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk