Our Complaints Policy

Introduction

We are committed to providing a high-quality legal service.

We acknowledge that we may not always get it right, so if something has gone wrong, including in relation to our charges, we need you to tell us. This will help us to improve our standards of service.

How do I make a complaint?

You can contact us in writing (by letter, fax or email) or by telephone.

In the first instance, it may be helpful to contact the person dealing with your matter, who will do their best to resolve your concerns. If you do not feel able to discuss your concerns with them, if applicable, please contact the person responsible for the overall supervision of your matter, who will be named in the client care letter we sent you at the beginning of your matter.

If you do not feel able to raise your concerns with either of these people, or you are unsatisfied with their response, please contact our Managing Partner, Daniyal Stanton, who has overall responsibility for complaints and whose contact details are: dan.stanton@clearlake.law and +44 (0) 204 570 8741.

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 went wrong;
  • how you would like your complaint to be resolved; and
  • your client matter 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 write to you within three (3) working days acknowledging your complaint, enclosing a copy of this policy.

We will investigate your complaint, which will usually involve:

  • reviewing your complaint;
  • reviewing your file(s) and other relevant documents; and
  • liaising 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 by telephone or video conference if preferable.

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. 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 let us know and we will review the matter.

If we have not resolved your complaint within eight weeks, you may be able to complain to the Legal Ombudsman. This applies if you are an individual, a business with fewer than 10 employees and turnover or assets not exceeding a certain threshold, a charity or trust with a net income of less than £1m, or if you fall within certain other categories (you can find out more from the Legal Ombudsman).

The Legal Ombudsman’s contact details are:

Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint, or within six years of the act or omission you are complaining about (or if outside of this period, within three years of when you should reasonably have been aware of it). Generally, the Legal Ombudsman deals with complaints relating to acts or omissions that happened after 5 October 2010. Further details are available on the website.

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) bodies exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services. In accordance with our client terms of business we have agreed to attempt to settle any dispute with you by way of mediation in accordance with the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) Model Mediation Procedure (Model Procedure) before resorting to litigation in the courts.

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. This is explained in our client terms of business.

The Legal Ombudsman service is free of charge.

CEDR may charge for its service and is responsible for informing all parties of the cost of the Model Procedure.