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Complaints Policy

SpainWilliams and our consultant solicitors and legal executives always aim to provide our clients with the best quality legal services we can. If something goes wrong then we will engage with you in a positive and constructive way to address the issue and concerns you raise. To help us to continually improve the quality of our service to clients we also review all complaints received annually.

This policy explains our formal complaints process. In the first instance, if you feel you can, then please do speak to the consultant solicitor or legal executive acting for you about your concerns. Sometimes you will find that further open and frank communication with them can resolve things. That said, you should always feel free to use this policy to raise a formal complaint at any time. If you do use this policy this will not affect the services our consultants and we provide to you, except in some instances where this would create a conflict of interest as explained below.

The complaints raised may be about anything we have done or failed to do including our advice, the quality of service we have provided, or  what we have charged.

Once you have made a complaint, we will respond in the manner set out in this Complaints Policy.

How to make a complaint

If you have a complaint, you should write to The Managing Director, SpainWilliams Limited, Office 62, The Cobalt Building, 1600 Eureka Park, Lower Pemberton, Ashford, Kent, TN25 4BF.

Your letter should set out the full details of your complaint, including what you feel went wrong and what remedy you are looking for. You should enclose all relevant correspondence or documentation to support your complaint. When corresponding with us we recommend using special delivery so you know when we have received your complaint.

This Complaints Policy applies to all complaints, including complaints raised by parties who are not our client. If you are not our client and wish to complain, you should note that client confidentiality and data protection rules may determine and limit the nature of our response.

Complaints and conflicts of interest

We are a regulated firm of solicitors, as such we must comply with professional rules set out by our regulating authority the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). These rules require us not to act in a way that puts us in a position where there would be a conflict of interest.

You should be aware that there are circumstances where, once you have made a complaint, we may no longer be able to act for you on the matter. We would let you know and discuss with you how best to proceed if this were the case, bearing in mind that we still have an overriding duty to comply with our professional rules. Please note, that this should, in no way, affect whether you choose to make a complaint.

What happens when we have received your complaint?

  1. We will send you a letter acknowledging receipt of your complaint within three working days of our receipt of the complaint, enclosing a copy of this Complaints Policy.
  2. We will start to investigate your complaint. This will normally involve passing your complaint to an appropriate person, usually our Managing Director Jo Spain, who will independently review your matter file and speak to the relevant individual(s), including those named in the complaint.
  3. Where we believe a phone conversation could help to resolve the complaint, then, within eight working days of receiving your complaint, we will endeavour to resolve your complaint by agreement with you over the phone.
  4. Where we have spoken to with you on the phone and are unable to resolve your complaint by agreement within eight working days, or where we do not believe a phone conversation would be appropriate, then, within eight weeks of receiving your complaint, we will write to you with our findings, which may include a suggested solution where appropriate.
  5. We will endeavour to provide our final complaint determination letter within eight weeks of receiving your complaint.
  6. Finally, please note that, where it is reasonable to do so, we may increase some of the timescales detailed above. If this is the case, then we will inform you in writing and we shall provide a reasonable explanation as to why we have extended the time periods. Examples of such explanations include where you have multiple complaints that all need to be investigated, or where it takes longer than anticipated to contact an important witness whose evidence is necessary for our investigation.

How and when you can make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman

In the event that you are not satisfied with the firm’s response, or if we do not resolve your complaint within eight weeks of your contacting us, then the Legal Ombudsman may be able to consider your complaint regarding the work your solicitor or legal executive undertook for you, or in relation to your bill. There are, however, restrictions to this service, as set out within the Ombudsman’s website (see below).

If you wish to contact the Legal Ombudsman, you should contact them within six months of the date when we sent you our final resolution letter. In addition, you should be aware that the Legal Ombudsman will not accept your complaint if:

  • more than six years have elapsed from the date of the act or omission giving rise to the complaint; or
  • more than three years have elapsed from the time when you should have known about the complaint; or
  • the date of the act or omission giving rise to the complaint was before 6 October 2010.

For further information, you can write to the Legal Ombudsman at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ or at You can phone them on 0300 555 0333.

You may also be able to object to our bill by applying to the court for an assessment under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. If you exercise this right, you could be prevented from making a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. In addition, if you apply to the court for an assessment, and if all or part of the bill remains unpaid at the end of that assessment, we are entitled to charge interest. There are strict time limits that apply to this process and you may wish to seek independent legal advice.

If you are not a client, you may be able to make a complaint in certain circumstances, for example, where you have an indirect involvement in any matter we are handling for another person and you suffer a loss or other adverse consequences from any actions that we take for them.

How and when you can make a complaint to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)

As our regulating authority the Solicitors Regulation Authority may be able to help you if you are concerned about our behaviour.

The SRA can help you, or take action, if we:

  • tell lies to you
  • steal from you or lose your money
  • shut down without telling you
  • break SRA rules
  • treat you unfairly because of your age, a disability or another characteristic.

You can phone the SRA on 0370 606 2555 from inside the UK (or on +44 (0)121 329 6800 from outside the UK).