Complaints Procedure

We want to give you the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service we have provided then you should inform us immediately, so that we can do our best to resolve the problem.

In the first instance it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your case to discuss your concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues at this stage. If you would like to make a formal complaint then you can read our full complaints procedure below. Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help you if you are concerned about our behaviour. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristics.

You can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority by contacting them as below:

Solicitors Regulation Authority,
The Cube,
199 Wharfside Street,
B1 1RN,
telephone 0370 606 2555.

Complaints form:

What to do if we cannot resolve your complaint

The Legal Ombudsman can help you if we were unable to resolve your complaint ourselves. They will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your case.

Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint and no more than six years from the date of the act or omission or no more than three years from you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.

If you like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, you can contact them at:-

Legal Ombudsman,
PO Box 6806,
Telephone 0300 555 033
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The firms’ complaints handling procedure complies with Outcomes required in the SRA Code of Conduct. Accordingly a copy of the full procedure will be sent on request or when a client complains. Clients are informed in the Client Care letter at the outset of the matter of what to do if they wish to complain.

1. Non formal complaint

• Clients are encouraged to discuss any feeling of dissatisfaction with the fee earner acting in their matter. In most cases, problems or misunderstandings can be resolved at this level.

• Staff should not be afraid to stand up to a bullying client or one who demands an unprofessional or improper service and can expect the support of the Directors in such situations.

2. Formal complaints

• If a fee earner is unable to resolve a non formal complaint to the client’s satisfaction it then becomes a “formal complaint” and therefore must be immediately referred to Christopher Waters.

• A formal complaint is defined as one that is made in writing (letter, fax or email) or otherwise referred to or involves someone other than the fee earner acting in the matter.

• Upon receipt of a formal complaint, the client will be sent a letter of acknowledgement and the full version of the firm’s complaint handling procedure which confirms how the complaint will be handled and the timeframes for receiving an initial and then a substantive response. Information is given to the client about the Legal Ombudsman and also the name of the ADR provider which we would be willing to use.

• Dates for actions will be diarised to ensure that the timetable for dealing with a complaint is satisfied.

3. Central register of complaints

• Christopher Waters maintains a central register of all Client Complaint Forms and relevant correspondence and attendance notes.

• A client may complain direct to the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) without referring to the firm first. The LeO will immediately refer the complaint to Christopher Waters and will keep the appropriate records. The complaint is then dealt with as above with a report on the outcome sent to the LeO.

4. Complaints review

• Christopher Waters will review the complaint records annually and will discuss the outcome with Directors and fee earners. As a result of such reviews, changes may be made to prevent recurrence of problems or make improvements for the future. At this time the complaints policy and procedures will reviewed in light of possible improvements being made.

5. Making complaints

• A member of the firm may wish to make a complaint, either against another solicitor through LeO or through other procedures. The agreement of Christopher Waters is needed before doing so in order that the professional and commercial standing of the firm can first receive proper consideration.

• Any negligence claim or request for assistance from a client with a claim against another solicitor must be referred to Christopher Waters before proceeding as there may be a conflict of interest.

6. Requests for remuneration certificates

• Remuneration certificates are no longer available to clients disputing our bills. However, clients are informed in our terms and conditions of their right to challenge our bill under Part lll of the Solicitors Act 1974.