Keystone Law is committed to providing a high-quality legal service to all our clients. When something goes wrong, we will address the problem and your concerns. This will help us to improve our standards and we review complaints received annually for this reason.
This policy sets out how we deal with formal complaints. If you feel your concerns might be better addressed by speaking with the members of the firm acting for you, then you should contact them first. You can make use of this policy at any time and should you do so, it will not affect our instructions and the services we provide to you, though it may in some instances create a conflict of interest (as explained below).
Complaints may concern anything we have done or failed to do. This ranges from our advice, whether on matters of law or in connection with any financial services we have provided, to the quality of service we provide and what we have charged.
Once you have made a complaint, we will respond in the manner set out in this Complaints Policy.
What should you do if you have a complaint?
If you have a complaint, you should write to The Complaints Director, Keystone Law, 1st Floor, 48 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1JF.
Your letter should set out the full details of your complaint, including what you feel went wrong and what remedy you seek. You should enclose all relevant correspondence or documentation to support your complaint. We recommend using special delivery when corresponding with us about a complaint. That way, you will know when we have received your complaint.
The Complaints Policy applies to all complaints, including complaints raised by parties who are not our client. If you wish to complain but are not our client, you should note that client confidentiality and data protection rules may determine the nature of our response.
Complaints and conflicts of interest
As a regulated firm of solicitors, we must comply with our professional rules. These require us not to act where we may find ourselves in a position of a conflict of interest. A conflict of interest would arise in a situation where, on the one hand we have a duty to act in your best interests, and on the other hand our own interests (for example, in light of a complaint raised, it would require us to take a different approach).
This should in no way affect whether you choose to make a complaint. However, you should be aware that there are circumstances where, once you have made a complaint, we may no longer be able to act for you on the matter. In this case, we would let you know and discuss with you how best to proceed, bearing in mind our overriding duty to comply with our professional rules.
What will happen once we have received your complaint?
- We will send you a letter acknowledging receipt of your complaint within three working days of our receipt of the complaint, enclosing a copy of this Complaints Policy.
- We will start to investigate your complaint. This will normally involve passing your complaint to an appropriate person in our Operations and Compliance Team, who will independently review your matter file and speak to the relevant individual(s), including those named in the complaint.
- Where we believe a telephone conversation could assist in resolving the complaint, then, within eight working days of receiving your complaint, we will endeavour to resolve your complaint by agreement over the telephone.
- Where we speak with you on the telephone and are unable to resolve your complaint by agreement within eight working days or where we do not believe a telephone conversation would be appropriate, then within eight weeks of receiving your complaint, we will write to you with our findings, which may include a suggested solution where appropriate.
- We will endeavour to provide our final determination letter within eight weeks of receiving your complaint to us.
- Finally, please note that where it is reasonable to do so, we may increase some of the timescales detailed above. If this is the case, then we will inform you in writing and we shall provide a reasonable explanation as to why we have extended the time periods. Examples of such explanations include where you have multiple complaints that all need to be investigated, or where it takes longer than anticipated to contact an important witness whose evidence is necessary for our investigation.
In the event that you are not satisfied with the firm’s response, or if we do not resolve your complaint within eight weeks of your contacting us, then the Legal Ombudsman may be able to consider your complaint. There are, however, restrictions to this service, as set out on the Ombudsman’s website (see below).
If you wish to contact the Legal Ombudsman, you should contact them within six months of the date of our sending to you our final resolution letter. In addition, you should be aware that the Legal Ombudsman will not accept your complaint if:
- more than six years have elapsed from the date of the act or omission giving rise to the complaint; or
- more than three years have elapsed from the time when you should have known about the complaint; or
- the date of the act or omission giving rise to the complaint was before 6 October 2010.
For further information, you can write to the Legal Ombudsman at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can telephone them on 0300 555 0333.
You may also be able to object to our bill by applying to the court for an assessment under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. If you exercise this right, you could be prevented from making a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. In addition, if you apply to the court for an assessment and if all or part of the bill remains unpaid at the end of that assessment, we are entitled to charge interest. There are strict time limits that apply to this process and you may wish to seek independent legal advice.
If you are not a client, you may be able to make a complaint in certain circumstances, for example, where you have an indirect involvement in any matter we are handling for another person and you suffer a loss or other adverse consequences from any actions that we take for them.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority may be able to help you if you are concerned about our behaviour, for example, if you are concerned about dishonesty, taking or losing money or being treated unfairly because of your age, a disability or another characteristic.