Complain about a solicitor

Complain about solicitor

You might think this an odd topic for a solicitor’s website. I take the view we should be as open as possible about problems, and the Law Society and the Solicitors Regulation Authority seem to agree. I will set out why complaints are made, and how they ought to be dealt with.

Sometimes the job does not go well, but the usual reasons for complaining are caused by poor communication. At the outset of work, a solicitor must set out in writing what is to be done, with an estimate of the time and cost involved. That should not be difficult, but it can sometimes be vague. The client goes away from a meeting thinking everything is clear, but the letter is vague and immediately you are on course to an unhappy relationship with your solicitor.

We are not a nation of people who complain, but sometimes you have no choice.

The regulator’s guidance to solicitors is much more positive than used to be the case. It says complaints are a business risk which cannot be avoided, but must instead be managed. However high the standard of client care, you cannot keep all clients, and others contacting your practice, happy all the time. While praise is preferable, complaints are crucial feedback on how to improve your practice. An effective complaints management process is an integral aspect of quality client care. It allows you to continually improve business practices, retain clients, enhance your reputation and remain competitive.

So the solicitor should try to avoid complaints in the first place. If a complaint is made it should be dealt with quickly and objectively and be free of charge.

Where a practice cannot resolve a complaint directly with the client, an independent third party may be required. A solicitor can offer the opportunity to involve an independent mediator to assist with resolving the complaint. Clients should be advised of their right to raise their concerns with the Legal Ombudsman. You can tell the Solicitors Regulation Authority about dishonesty or breaches of the principles under which solicitors must operate, but they will not deal with issues of poor service.

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