Our Complaints Policy

FMB is committed to providing a high quality legal service to all our clients. When something goes wrong, we need you to tell us about it. This will help us to resolve the problem and improve our standards.

Our Definition of a Complaint is

Any expression of dissatisfaction in relation to our legal services, client care or complaints management processes, to which a client or other person would reasonably expect a response or by which it is clear that a system or procedure may not be in effective operation – such an expression can be face to face, by letter, by email or over the telephone.

Our Complaints Procedure

If you have a concern or a complaint, please contact us as soon as you are aware of the problem so that this can be addressed. Information about who to contact if there is a problem was given at the outset of your case within this Firm’s Help Leaflet. If your named contact (the person conducting work on your file) is unable to resolve the matter with you, please contact Deborah Morgan and she will investigate the matter further. If you would prefer to speak to someone other than Ms Morgan, please contact Aftab Bakhat.

What will happen next ?
  • We will send you a letter acknowledging receipt of your complaint within 3 working days of our receiving the complaint, and we will enclose a copy of this procedure.
  • One of our Partners will then investigate your complaint, and will review your file and also speak to the member(s) of staff who acted for you.
  • Within a further 5 working days we will send you a substantive response to your complaint if we are able to do so. If we are not able to do so without obtaining additional information from you about your complaint, we will invite you to a meeting to discuss and, hopefully, resolve your complaint. Following this meeting, we will write to you within 3 working days to confirm what took place and any solutions we have agreed with you.
  • If we invite you to attend a meeting with us and you do not wish to do so, or it is not possible, we will send you a detailed written reply to your complaint including our suggestions for resolving the matter, within 3 working days of receiving confirmation from you that you do not wish to attend a meeting. (If you do not respond to our request for a meeting within 14 days, we will assume that you do not wish to attend)
  • If at this stage, you are still not satisfied, you should contact us again to explain why you remain unhappy with our response. We will review your comments and, depending on the matter we may at this stage arrange for another Partner to review the decision.
  • We will write to you within 14 days of receiving your request for a review, confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons.
  • If we have to change any of the timescales above, we will let you know and explain why.
  • If we have been unable to settle your complaint using our internal complaints process, you have a right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman, an independent complaints body, established under the Legal Services Act 2007, that deals with legal services complaints. You have six months from the date of our final letter in which to complain to the Legal Ombudsman. This must also be either within 6 years of the problem happening, or 3 years from when you found out about it.

    The contact details are:

    Legal Ombudsman
    PO Box 6806
    Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ
    Telephone: 0300 555 0333
    Email address: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk
    Website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk

    Alternative complaints bodies (such as Ombudsman Services, ProMediate and Small Claims Mediation) exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme.

  • If your complaint relates to a bill raised by us, you may also have the right to object to the bill by applying to the court for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. Note that if all or part of a bill remains unpaid, we may be entitled to charge interest.
  • If your complaint relates to a bill raised by us, you may also have the right to object to the bill by applying to the court for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. Note that if all or part of a bill remains unpaid, we may be entitled to charge interest.
  • Most of the time, complaints about solicitors are about poor service, and therefore should be sent to the Legal Ombudsman. However, if you are concerned about your solicitor’s behaviour and you think they have breached an SRA Principle (these are set out on the SRA website), for example by being dishonest or discriminatory, you can report the matter directly to the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The SRA does not have the power to award compensation for poor service, or to reduce or refund your legal fees.

    The contact details are:

    SRA Contact Centre
    The Cube
    199 Wharfside Street
    Birmingham
    B1 1RN
    DX 720293 BIRMINGHAM 47

    Telephone: 0370 606 2555
    Email address: contactcentre@sra.org.uk
    Website: www.sra.org.uk