VLaw Limited: Complaints Handling Policy & Procedure (the “Policy”)
1 This Policy applies to all clients (whether existing, former or prospective). We will not ignore or dismiss a complaint merely because it is from a prospective or former client.
2 We will take any complaint by you against us very seriously and it is our policy to investigate complaints thoroughly and respond promptly. If at any time you are unhappy with any aspect of our services, including any bill issued to you by us, then please let us know as soon as possible. In the first instance, you should raise the issue with the VLaw solicitor responsible for the conduct of the matter in question (the “VLaw Person”) who should deal with your concerns promptly, fairly and effectively. If you would prefer, please refer it directly to the following director of VLaw:
Oliver Brice at Tallis House, 2 Tallis Street, London, EC4Y 0AB and send an electronic copy to firstname.lastname@example.org.
3 The Virtual Law Person or Oliver Brice (where you have directed your complaint directly to Oliver Brice (as above)) will provide an initial response to any complaint raised by you within 48 hours of receiving the complaint.
4 In the event that you are dissatisfied with our initial response, you should instigate our formal complaints procedure by formally complaining in writing by completing a Complaints Form and sending it to Oliver Brice (a director of Virtual Law, who will be responsible for handling the complaint) at the following address: Tallis House, 2 Tallis Street, London, EC4Y 0AB and sending an electronic copy to email@example.com. This allows the scope of the complaint to be defined and gives us the opportunity to respond and deal with specific issues.
Acknowledgement of Receipt of Complaint
5 Your complaint will be acknowledged in writing (by email) within three working days of the completed Complaints Form being received by Oliver Brice and Oliver Brice will identify himself within this acknowledgment as being the nominated complaint handler.
6 You will be advised in the acknowledgement:-
- of any action that has been or will be taken and the likely course of events with their timescales;
- of your right to seek further assistance from the Legal Ombudsman if you remain dissatisfied and feel that the complaint has not being properly addressed – see the paragraphs below under the heading ‘Further Action – Legal Ombudsman’ for further information.
7 After sending the acknowledgement of receipt, Oliver Brice will decide the most appropriate detailed response depending upon the seriousness or urgency of the complaint. Unless agreed otherwise by you, the detailed response will be communicated in writing to you within 10 business days of the date of receipt by Oliver Brice of the completed Complaints Form.
Further Action – Legal Ombudsman
8 If for any reason we are unable to resolve a problem between us via our formal complaints procedure, you may then contact the Legal Ombudsman on 0300 555 0333. Alternatively, if you would like to email or write to the Legal Ombudsman you can do so by using the following addresses as you prefer:-
Post: PO Box 6806
See www.legalombudsman.org.uk for more information.
9 Please note that you may also have a right to object to a bill by applying to the court for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. However, please be aware that if you have applied to the court for an assessment of that bill, the Legal Ombudsman may not deal with your complaint about the bill. Accordingly, you may wish to speak to the Legal Ombudsman about this prior to applying to the court for an assessment.
10 If you wish to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, then you must do so within the time limits set out below. Failure to do so will entitle the Legal Ombudsman to dismiss your complaint for being out-of-time.
11 Normally, you must refer a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within:
- six months of the date of our written response to you regarding your complaint;
- one year from the act/omission which is the subject of your complaint; or
- one year from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint without taking advice from a third party;
- whichever is later.
12 Whether you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint will be assessed on the basis of your own knowledge, disregarding what you might have been told if you had sought advice.
If, however, the Legal Ombudsman considers that there are exceptional circumstances, he/she may extend any of these time limits to the extent that he/she considers fair. For example, the Legal Ombudsman might extend a time limit if you were prevented from meeting the time limit as a result of serious illness or where the time limit had not expired when you raised the complaint with the authorised person.COMPLAINTS FORM