8 Bearl Farm, Stocksfield, Northumberland, NE43 7AL

Contact us for a free estimate: 0344 88 050 88

Complaints Procedure

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 and aim to ensure that any complaints clients may have are identified quickly and dealt with thoroughly in accordance with this procedure.

If at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service we provided, you should inform us immediately so that we can do our best to resolve the problem. If you would like to make a formal complaint, then you can read our full complaints procedure below. Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case.

Complaints Procedure

Every client has the benefit of the Managing Director who is ultimately responsible for the relevant piece of work being carried out for that client. 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.

The Managing Director will generally be identifiable from the engagement letter you will have received. If however you are in any doubt as to who the Managing Director is, please ask your most immediate point of contact within the firm.

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:

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 made more than 12 months after the cause of the complaint.

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 be 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 the Managing Director, Stewart Fairhurst, who is in charge of client care and he will review your case file and speak to the member of staff who acted for you.

Stewart Fairhurst will then investigate your complaint and hopefully resolve it. He will do this within 21 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.

Stewart Fairhurst will then either write to you or invite you to a meeting to discuss and hopefully resolve your complaint. He will do this within 21 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 case, 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 case will be conducted by the Managing Director. He will make any wider enquiries internally that may be necessary.

If we must 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 to review any decision. Otherwise, we will ask for a review of Stewart Fairhurst’s decision to be carried out by another solicitor.

We will write to you within 21 days of receiving your request for a review, confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons.

Legal Cases – What to do if we cannot resolve your complaint?

If you are still not satisfied with our response to a matter relating to our legal services, The Legal Ombudsman can help you if we are unable to resolve your complaint ourselves. They will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your case.

The Legal Ombudsman can only consider complaints from a specific type of client. If you wish to refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, you should do so within 6 months of our final response to your complaint, and within 1 year of the date of  the act or omission about which you have complained or within 1 year of you realising there was a cause for complaint. Please refer to the Legal Ombudsman website for full details on its approach to handling complaints.

If your complaint relates to fees you may be entitled to have them reviewed by the court by applying for an assessment of the  bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. If you take advantage of this procedure within a month from the date of our invoice, your right to a detailed assessment is unconditional. If you delay beyond a month the court may impose conditions. Once a year has elapsed since the date of the bill you will lose the right to a detailed assessment unless there are special circumstances.

The Legal Ombudsman can be contacted as follows:

Post:                Operational Support Team, Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6168, Slough, SL1 0EL

Telephone:     0300 555 0333 between 9.00 to 17.00.

E-mail:             enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

Website:          www.legalombudsman.org.uk

What to do if you are unhappy with our behaviour?

The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help 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, a disability or other characteristic.

Visit their website to see how you can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority

Insurance – Financial Ombudsman and Alternative Dispute Resolution

If you are not satisfied with our response to a matter relating to our insurance services or an insurance product, you may be entitled to refer the case 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:                The Financial Ombudsman Service, Exchange Tower, London, E14 9SR

Telephone:     0800 023 4567.

E-mail:            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

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