Our policy

A.R. Brown & Co. Solicitors 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 improve our standards.

Our complaints procedure

If you have a concern or a complaint, please contact us as soon as you are aware of the problem so this can be addressed. Our contact details are listed below:

A.R. Brown & Co. Solicitors

77-79 Chapel Road

Worthing, West Sussex

BN11 1HU

Telephone:  01903 237 118

Fax: 01903 231 657

E-mail:  arb@arbrown-solicitors.co.uk

What will happen next?

  1. We will send you a letter acknowledging receipt of your complaint within five days of our receiving the complaint, enclosing a copy of this procedure. If you require a different format of this letter please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate your request.
  2. We will then investigate your complaint. This will normally involve passing your complaint to our client care partner, Alan Brown, who will review your matter file and speak to the member of staff who acted for you.
  3. Alan Brown will then invite you to a meeting to discuss and, it is hoped, resolve your complaint. He will do this within 14 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.
  4. Within three days of the meeting, we will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions he has agreed with you.
  5. If you do not want a meeting or it is not possible, we will send you a detailed written reply to your complaint, including our suggestions for resolving the matter, within 21 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.
  6. At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, you should contact us again to explain why you remain unhappy with our response and we will review your comments. Depending on the matter we may at this stage arrange for another partner to review the decision.
  7. 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.
  8. If you are still not satisfied, you can then contact the Legal Ombudsman at PO Box 15870, Tamworth, B77 9LE or call 0300 555 0333 about your complaint. Any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within six months of your receiving a final written response from us regarding your complaint. The Legal Ombudsman has provided further guidance on its service at www.legalombudsman.org.uk.

If we have to change any of the timescales above, we will let you know and explain why.

 

When you should report a solicitor to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)

The SRA deal with cases where firms or those they regulate have breached the SRA Principles. Most of the time, complaints about solicitors are about poor service, and therefore should be sent to the Legal Ombudsman. If the Legal Ombudsman thinks your case involves a breach of the SRA Principles, they will refer your case to the SRA. Likewise, if you report a solicitor to the SRA for poor service, the SRA will refer you to the Legal Ombudsman. The SRA do not have the power to award compensation for poor service, or to reduce or refund your legal fees.

However, you should report the matter directly to the SRA if you think our firm has breached an SRA Principle. For more details about SRA Principles contact the SRA Contact Centre (see below)

You can also report our firm for non-payment of professional fees (such as agent or expert fees) if

  • you have a County Court judgment in respect of the fee, and
  • the judgment relates to our firm in connection with providing a legal service.

There are some issues the SRA does not investigate. However,  the SRA always consider allegations of dishonesty or discrimination.

If the SRA have closed our firm and you believe that our firm owes you money, you may be able to make an application to the Compensation Fund.

 

How to report a solicitor or firm to the SRA

When reporting, please

  • set out your concerns clearly on the SRA’s Report Form, which can be downloaded from https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor or obtained from the SRA Contact Centre (see below)
  • identify individuals you consider responsible,
  • attach any evidence you have in support.

Send the SRA’s Report Form to the SRA’s Reports Team by post to: The Cube
199 Wharfside Street Birmingham B1 1RN
or e-mail report@sra.org.uk

For guidance on the SRA’s complaints process, call the SRA Contact Centre on 0370 606 2555 or e-mail contactcentre@sra.org.uk

The SRA Contact Centre is is open week days from 08.00 to 17.00 (Except Tuesdays 09.30 to 17.00)

Note that the SRA cannot provide advice about your issue, however they can point you in the right direction.

What the SRA will do

The SRA acknowledge all initial reports of information. Their acknowledgement will:

  • thank you for providing the information, and
  • confirm how they handle your information.

Sometimes the SRA may decide to contact you again if:

  • they believe that you have, or have access to, further information which they need to take the right action, and/or
  • they think you may be required to act as a witness or to provide a witness statement

The SRA’s role and powers

The SRA’s aim is to work with individuals and firms they regulate to ensure they comply with their SRA Principles.

Where there is a failure to comply with the Principles, the SRA take into account the risk posed to the public and consumers to help them decide how best to ensure they are protected. Where the risk posed is serious the SRA can take formal enforcement action, such as limiting or restricting the way individuals and firms work. In very serious cases, the SRA can close a firm or ensure an individual is unable to practice as a solicitor in the future.

The SRA may publish their regulatory decisions.

The SRA have extensive powers, however, they do not have the power to resolve complaints about poor service. Neither can they require a law firm to compensate you.

 

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