Complaints Policy - Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

We are committed to providing high quality legal services to all our clients. Dealing effectively with any concerns is part of that service and also helps us to continuously improve our standards. Whilst we sincerely hope you never have cause for complaint if something does go wrong, including in relation to our bill, we need you to tell us as soon as possible.

This Complaints Policy applies to legal services provided by Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP including any concerns about our professional conduct or potential breach of the Solicitors Regulation Authority professional conduct rules.

If your complaint relates to financial planning, investment advice or any other financial services provided by Womble Bond Dickinson Wealth Limited then please refer to its Complaints Policy. If you are not sure which policy to refer to, please speak to your Relationship Partner or the contact named in your engagement letter.

Our complaints process is overseen by our General Counsel and Complaints Partner, Nicki Shepherd, who is supported by our Risk and Best Practice Team.

How do I complain?

  1. The first step is to either write or speak to the person who is dealing with your matter, or your Relationship Partner (whose details will be in your engagement letter).
  2.  If you are not satisfied with our response at Step 1, or, if you do not wish to refer your complaint to your Relationship Partner, then you should contact Nicki Shepherd, our Complaints Partner, by email at complaints@wbd-uk.com. To help us understand your complaint please tell us what you think we have got wrong and what you hope to achieve as a result of your complaint.

How will we deal with your complaint

We will acknowledge your complaint within two working days. We aim to respond in full within 21 days but if we cannot give you a full response within that time then we will let you know how long it is likely to take.

We will investigate your complaint by conducting an independent review of the matter file and the associated circumstances. We record all complaints in our central record.

We will contact you if we require further information and, where appropriate, may suggest a meeting or a telephone call to discuss your complaint.

Sometimes it may be appropriate for Nicki Shepherd to arrange for another one of our partners, or our Operational Risk Director, to consider and respond to your complaint. She will let you know if this is the case.

We will respond to you in writing to set out our findings and, where necessary, details of how we propose to resolve your complaint.

Our overall aim is to resolve all complaints in an eight week period, hopefully to your satisfaction. If the complaint is not resolved within this timeframe, then you may have recourse to the Legal Ombudsman (LeO). We will not charge you for handling your complaint.

If your complaint relates to a bill for work done on a matter and all or some of that bill has not been paid then we may be entitled to charge interest on the outstanding amount.

Making a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman

If you are not happy with the outcome of our complaints procedure, you may be able to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman (LeO). The LeO deals with service complaints from members of the public and very small businesses, charities, clubs and trusts. Before it will consider a complaint, the LeO generally requires that a firm’s complaints procedure has been exhausted first. If the LeO is satisfied that a firm’s proposals for resolving a complaint are reasonable, it may decline to investigate further. The LeO service is free of charge.

Any complaint to the LeO must usually be made within six months of the end of our final written response to your complaint and within six years of the date of the alleged act or omission about which you are complaining, or within three years of you becoming aware of it. Please contact the LeO for more information on the time scales for making a complaint.

The LeO's contact details are: Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ; telephone 0300 5550333; for general enquiries email enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk or view their website at legalombudsman.org.uk.

How to complain if you are not our client

If you are not our client (for example, you are involved in a transaction where we are representing another party) we will only be able to deal with your complaint if you are alleging that we have breached the Solicitors Regulation Authority professional conduct rules. In any other situation, we will respond to let you know that we cannot deal with your complaint and that we will not be able to correspond further with you.

If you are involved in a matter we are dealing with and have your own legal representation, our professional rules require us to correspond with your representative.  If you wish to submit a complaint we recommend that you liaise with your representative to do so.

October 2019