Complaints (Legal Services)
We want to give you the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service we provide then you should inform us immediately so that we can do our best to resolve the problem.
In the first instance it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your case to discuss your concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues at this stage. If, however, you would like to make a formal complaint, then we do operate a complaints resolution procedure. Please contact David Allison, the Family Law in Partnership director who deals with complaints, for the full policy details. Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case.
If we are unable to resolve your complaint ourselves then The Legal Ombudsman can help you. They will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your case.
In accordance with the rules set by them:
• clients now have a year from the end of retainer to make a complaint, or a year from when they ought to have known they have a complaint.
• before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint
To contact the Legal Ombudsman:
• Call: 0300 555 0333 between 9am to 5pm.
• Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
• Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Visit: www.legalombudsman.org.uk
If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, please contact them.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority can also help you 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. You can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority. http://www.sra.org.uk/
Our Family Mediation Complaints Procedure →
The Family Mediation Council have a separate complaints handling policy that we will follow for non-lawyer mediators.
Aims of this Procedure
We aim to offer a quality mediation service which meets the needs of our clients. However, we also recognise exceptionally that the service experienced by our clients may fall short of their expectations and lead to the making of a complaint. As a company, we are anxious to hear these concerns so that they can be addressed. By our complaints procedure, we aim to restore a good working relationship wherever possible with our mediation clients or address historical issues if they are no longer active clients of Family Law in Partnership.
Who Can Make a Complaint?
Our complaints procedure allows a client, a former client or a qualifying third party to make a complaint. Please see the Family Mediation Council’s Complaints Procedure: https://www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk/complaints-about-mediators/.
Process and Time Frame for a Complaint
A complaint that relates to a breach in the Family Mediation Council’s Code of Practice needs to be made within three months. For the avoidance of doubt, complaints that relate to the way mediation was conducted as a whole must be made within three months of the date of the last mediation session. The complaint should be addressed to David Allison (Complaints Director) at Family Law in Partnership or to Dominic Raeside (Head of Mediation) at Family Law in Partnership if the case was mediated by David Allison. Acknowledgement of the complaint will be made within 10 working days of receipt.
The complaint will be investigated and responded to within a maximum of 30 working days of receipt. In exceptional circumstances, further time may be required, in which case the complainant will be notified in writing.
Responses to Complaints
The complaint, having been considered by the Complaints Director or, where appropriate, the Head of Mediation, will consider a range of remedies and potential solutions including an apology, an explanation, a refund of fees (where the complaint is upheld) or the possibility of a referral to an external mediator if both the complainant and mediator wish this to proceed. If the complainant is still unsatisfied with the response from the Complaints Director or Head of Mediation, the complainant can ask the Family Mediation Standards Board to consider the complaint if certain criteria are met (see Family Mediation Council’s Code of Practice https://www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk/complaints-about-mediators/).
- NB Mediation clients will have signed the Agreement to Mediate which allows information held by the mediator to be shared with the Family Mediation Standards Board (FMSB), in the event that the formal complaint is made to the FMSB to which that information pertains.
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