Complaints Handling

We are committed to providing a high quality legal service and to dealing with all our clients fairly. We acknowledge that we may not always get it right so if something has gone wrong, including in relation to the bill, we need you to tell us.

Stage 1

If you wish to make a complaint, you should first contact us either in writing (by letter, fax or email) or by speaking with our Complaints Managers.  We have three Complaints Managers, their contact details are:

HCB Solicitors Ltd
Beverly Clarke – Practice Manager
beverlyclarke@hcbgroup.com
0844 556 1866

HCB Berry and Berry Limited / HCB Widdows Mason Ltd
James Paradeda – Practice Manager
jamesparadeda@hcbgroup.com
0161 790 1411

HCB Park Woodfine LLP / HCB London Limited
Lindsay Carter – Practice Manager
lindsaycarter@hcbgroup.com
01234 400 000

To help us to understand your complaint, and in order that we do not miss anything, please tell us:

a) your full name and contact details

b) what you think we have got wrong

c) what you hope to achieve as a result of your complaint, and

d) your file reference number (if you have it)

If you require any help in making your complaint we will try to help you.

Stage 2

We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within three working days, enclosing a copy of this policy and informing you of the name of the person who is dealing with your complaint. The firm takes any form of complaint very seriously and as a result of our ongoing commitment to ensuring good client care and quality of service, we outsource stage 2 of our complaints procedure to an Independent Complaints Handler. We believe that this is in the interest of our clients as it allows us to obtain an independent view on any complaints and also constructive feedback on how our services can be improved. We will record your complaint in our central register which is reviewed regularly by the Management Board

Stage 3

The person investigating the complaint will have full access to all the information and personnel that they require to investigate your complaint properly. They may contact you directly to discuss and confirm your heads of complaints and request any further information from you to assist the investigation.

We will ask the person investigating the complaint to recommend the action which they believe would be recommended by the Legal Ombudsman if the complaint was referred to them.

Stage 4

The  person investigating your complaint will provide you with a detailed assessment report together with their recommendations to resolve the complaint, if any. A copy of which will be first forwarded to the Managing Partner for review. We will generally follow the recommendations made but if we think they are not appropriate we will explain our reasons to you.

We have 8 weeks from the date we receive your complaint  to fully investigate and provide our final response to you. If we have to change any of the timescales above, we will contact you to explain our reasons why.

You will not be charged for our time spent dealing with a complaint internally.

Stage 5

If you are still not satisfied, the next step is for you to contact the Legal Ombudsman by one of the following methods:

The Legal Ombudsman service is only available to members of the public, very small businesses, charities, clubs and trusts. If you are unclear about your position, then you should contact the Legal Ombudsman direct to clarify whether or not they can deal with your complaint. Alternatively, please refer to the Legal Ombudsman’s scheme rules which are available by clicking on the following link:

http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/downloads/documents/publications/Scheme-Rules.pdf

You have the right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman at the conclusion of our complaints process providing you do so within 6 months of the date of our final  written response.

Ordinarily you can also ask the Legal Ombudsman to investigate your complaint if you satisfy the following:

the problem or when you found out about it, happened after 5 October 2010 and

you are referring your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within either 6 years of the problem happening or 3 years from when you found out about it.

Alternative complaints bodies such as ProMediate (http://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. HCB Solicitors does not agree to use ProMediate as we prefer the Legal Ombudsman’s clear adjudication process.

Complaints About Fees

If you are dissatisfied with our bill, you have the right to apply to the High Court for an assessment of our charges by an Officer of the Court under ss. 70, 71 and 72 of the Solicitors Act 1974. We hope that before making such an application you would first use our complaints procedure explained above.

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