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You are entitled to challenge or complain about your bill and, if appropriate, the circumstances in which you may be required to pay interest on an unpaid bill. We take any complaint most seriously, but if you are not a client, reserve the right to modify and possibly to exclude the operation of this procedure in all or in part. If a complaint relates to a bill for our fees, you might also be able to apply to the court for an assessment under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. If you would like a bill to be reviewed by the court you must apply to the court within one month of the date the bill was delivered to you. If the bill has been paid, more than twelve months has elapsed or a judgment has been obtained in respect of the costs covered by the bill, the court will not order the bill to be assessed unless special circumstances apply. If the court makes an order in such circumstances, it might attach conditions to the order in respect of the costs of the assessment. Our entitlement to charge interest in respect of an unpaid bill may not be affected by any complaint you make to the Legal Ombudsman or any application you make to the court.Contact us
Initial steps to resolve
- If you have any concerns about the service you receive, please contact:
- (i) the partner who has overall responsibility for your business or for the particular matter concerned; or,
- (ii) if they cannot resolve matters to your satisfaction or the complaint concerns that partner, please contact the head of the group/department with which you are dealing or the person indicated in your client care letter. If you are in doubt, a name(s) will be supplied.
- They will endeavour to resolve your concerns promptly and fairly.
- If the matter cannot be resolved by them or if you would prefer, please contact Andrew Dodd (tel +44 330 460 6525) who is the UK Complaints Partner ("Complaints Partner"). If he is away for any material time or the complaint involves him, the Managing Partner will ensure that your complaint is dealt with elsewhere. Complaints in non-UK offices are the responsibility of the relevant local Managing Partner.
What will happen next
- The Complaints Partner will endeavour to acknowledge your complaint within three working days. He will send you an acknowledgment and a copy of this complaints procedure.
- We will record your complaint in a central register and open a file for your complaint.
- The Complaints Partner will investigate your complaint. This will normally involve him in one or more of the following steps:
- reviewing the file and any associated documents for the matter to which the complaint relates;
- interviewing and discussing the position with those concerned within the firm;
- seeking any further clarification which we require from you.
If it seems appropriate, we may at this stage suggest a meeting to obtain details or to discuss matters with you.
Any information that you supply will be treated in confidence unless agreed otherwise.
- The Complaints Partner will then write to you to:
- (i) report his findings; and,
- (ii) make proposals for resolving your complaint.
We aim to do this within 21 days of acknowledging your complaint. If for any reason the 21 days cannot be achieved (for example, because of fee earner absences or because further information is required from third parties or yourself), we will explain why and endeavour to agree a revised date.
Review of the Complaints Partner's decision
- If you do not accept the Complaints Partner's findings or proposals for resolving the matter, you may request a review of his decision. This review will be carried out by a partner appointed by the Fieldfisher LLP Managing Partner, who will have had no prior involvement with the substance of the complaint. To start the review, please write with your reasons for rejecting his findings to the Complaints Partner. In certain circumstances, for example if you do not adequately explain the basis on which you reject the finding, we may decline the request for a further review and recommend that you contact the Legal Ombudsman.
- Our aim will be to complete the review within 21 days of receipt of your letter but if more time is needed you will be notified. We will let you know the results of the review within five working days of its completion. At this time we will write to you confirming our final position on your complaint and explain our reasons. If you are unhappy with the outcome you may be able to ask the Legal Ombudsman to become involved in your complaint. The Legal Ombudsman can accept complaints from individuals (actual or potential clients), small businesses if classified as a "micro-enterprise", and charities, clubs, societies, associations and trusts with a net annual income or net asset value of less than £1 million. We will confirm their details again at that time.
- The time limit for referring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman is generally six months from the date when we give you our final written response to your complaint. However, please note that from 1 April 2023 these time limits are changing. From 1 April the Legal Ombudsman expects complaints to be made to them within a year of the date of the act or omission about which you are concerned or within a year of you realising there was a concern. The time limit can be checked by looking at the Legal Ombudsman’s website or by telephoning their office on 0300 555 0333. If you miss the time limit, the Legal Ombudsman may not be able to investigate your complaint.
- If at any stage of the complaints procedure it becomes appropriate, we will notify you of your right to see another solicitor and obtain advice as to whether you have any other remedy against us. If a complaint may constitute a possible claim for compensation for negligence, we will generally have to refer the matter to our insurers. In those circumstances, this complaints procedure may not be appropriate.
The Legal Ombudsman
- The contact details of the Legal Ombudsman are as follows:
The Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
0300 555 0333
Professional Misconduct Complaints
- Fieldfisher LLP is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, which handles complaints relating to professional misconduct. If you have any concerns about our behaviour, you can raise these with the Solicitors Regulation Authority
Equality and Diversity
- Our complaints procedure is operated in compliance with the firm’s policy on equality and diversity.