Our contact details
Bowden Jones Solicitors
External Complaints Procedure
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.
How do I make a complaint?
You can contact us in writing (by letter, fax or email) or by speaking with our Compliance Officer for
Legal Practice (COLP), whose contact details are:
Stephen Jones, Bowden Jones Solicitors, 27 Windsor Place, Cardiff CF10 3BZ
Fax: 029 2012 1905
Email: email@example.com marked FAO: Stephen Jones
To help us to understand your complaint, and in order that we do not miss anything, please tell us:
your full name and contact details
what you think we have got wrong
what you hope to achieve as a result of your complaint, and
your file reference number (if you have it)
If you require any help in making your complaint we will try to help you.
How will you deal with my complaint?
We will record your complaint centrally.
We will write to you within three working days acknowledging your complaint, enclosing a copy of this policy.
We will investigate your complaint. This will usually involve:
reviewing your complaint
reviewing your file(s) and other relevant documents, and
speaking with the person who dealt with your matter
We may also need to ask you for further information or documents. If so, we will ask you to provide the information within a specific period of time.
We will update you on the progress of your complaint at appropriate times.
We may also, if appropriate, invite you to a meeting to discuss your complaint. You do not have to attend if you do not wish to or if you are unable to. We will be happy to discuss the matter with you
on the telephone.
We will write to you at the end of our investigation to tell you what we have done and what we propose to do to resolve your complaint, explaining our reasons. We will also provide you with the details of an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) approved body that is competent to deal with complaints about legal services. The matter can be referred to them if we both agree to use the scheme. We do not agree to use the scheme but are obliged from 1st October 2015, under European DIRECTIVE 2013/11/EU to make you aware of an ADR approved body. Where possible, we will aim to do this within 21 days of the date of our letter of acknowledgement.
What if I am not satisfied with the outcome?
If you are unhappy with the outcome of our complaints handling procedure please first let us know and we will review the matter.
If you are still unhappy you can ask the Legal Ombudsman to look into your complaint. You can contact the Legal Ombudsman:
by post at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
by telephone: 0300 555 0333, or
by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This must be done within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint.
The Legal Ombudsman expects complaints to be made to them within one year of the date of the act or omission about which you are concerned or within one year of you realising there was a concern.
- If your complaint is specifically about our bill, you have the right to object to it and apply for an assessment of it under part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. If you should choose to exercise this right, and the court is assessing our bill, you may be unable
to use the Legal Ombudsman service.
- If you are complaining as a business client, unless you are a “micro business” (as defined by the European Union), you may not be able to use the Legal Ombudsman scheme, and should check the guidance on Legal Ombudsman’s website.
- If you refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman as a trustee/personal representative (executor/administrator) or beneficiary of the estate/trust of a person who, before they died, had not referred the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman the period runs from when the deceased should reasonably have
known there was cause for complaint; and when the complainant (or the deceased) should reasonably have known there was a cause for complaint will be assessed on the basis of the complainant’s (or deceased’s) own knowledge, disregarding what the complainant (or the deceased) might have been told if he/she had sought advice.
- If the ombudsman considers there are exceptional circumstances (e.g. serious illness or you were still within the time limits when you made your initial complaint to them) then he/she may extend any of the above time limits to the extent that he/she considers fair.
If we have to change any of the timescales above, we will let you know and explain why.
Further details are available on the website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk.
What will it cost?
We will not charge you for handling your complaint.
Please note that if we have issued a bill for work done on the matter, and all or some of the bill is not paid, we may be entitled to charge interest on the amount outstanding.
The Legal Ombudsman service is free of charge.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority
Please note that in addition to the above complaints procedure, the Solicitors Regulation Authority could help you if you think that a solicitor might be dishonest or you have concerns about their behaviour.
- Shutting down their law firm without telling you.
- Dishonesty or deliberately overcharging you.
- Taking or losing your money.
- Treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority deal with cases where firms or those they regulate have breached the SRA Principles. Most of the time, complaints about solicitors are about poor service, and therefore should be sent to the Legal Ombudsman. If the Legal Ombudsman thinks your case involves a breach of the Solicitor Regulation Authority’s Principles, they will refer your case to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
You can also report a firm or someone regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority for non-payment of professional fees (such as agent or expert fees) if you have a County Court judgment in respect of the fee, and the judgment relates to the practice in connection with providing a legal service.
If the Solicitors Regulation Authority have closed a firm and you believe that the firm owes you money, you may be able to make an application to the Compensation Fund.
In order to make a complaint to the Solicitors Regulation Authority, please see their website sra.org.uk; or contact them at their contact centre:
199 Wharfside Street
0370 606 2555