Our complaints policy
We are 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 complaint, please contact Mr Hem Kumar Athi, our Client Care Partner. You can write to him at 388 High Street West Bromwich West Midlands. If we have to change any of the responsibilities or the timescales set out below we will let you know and explain why.
What will happen next?
1. Within three days we will send you a letter acknowledging your complaint and asking you to confirm or explain any details. If it seems appropriate we will suggest a meeting at this stage. We will also let you know the name of the person who will be dealing with your complaint.
2. We will then record your complaint in our central register and open a file for your complaint. We will also investigate your complaint by examining the relevant file.
3. If appropriate we will then invite you to meet Mr Hem Athi to discuss and hopefully resolve your complaint. We would hope to be in a position to meet with you in this way no longer than 14 days after first receiving your complaint. If you would prefer not to meet, or if we cannot arrange this within an agreeable timescale, I will write fully to you setting out my views on the situation and any redress that we would feel to be appropriate.
4. Within three days of any meeting we will write to you to confirm what took place and any suggestions that we have agreed with you. In appropriate cases we could offer an apology, a reduction of any bill or a repayment in relation to any payment received.
5. At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, please let us know. We will then arrange to review our decision. We would generally aim to do this within 10 days. This will happen in one of the following ways.
- Mr Hem Athi will review his own decision
- We will arrange for someone in the firm who has not been involved in your complaint to review it.
- Mr Manoj Athi will review your complaint within 10 days.
- We will ask our local law society or another local firm of solicitors to review your complaint. We will let you know how long this process will take.
- We will invite you to agree to independent mediation. We will let you know how long this process will take.
6. We will let you know the result of the review within five days of the end of the review. At this time we will write to you confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons. We will also give you the name and address of the Legal Ombudsman. If you are still not satisfied, you can contact them about your complaint. We very much hope that this will not be necessary.
Charges and expenses
- Our charges will be calculated mainly by reference to the time actually spent by the solicitors and other staff in respect of any work which they do on your behalf. This may include meetings with you and perhaps others; reading, preparing and working on papers; making and receiving telephone calls, e-mails, faxes and text messages; preparation of any detailed costs estimates, schedules and bills; attending at court; and time necessarily spent travelling away from the office. From time to time we may arrange for some of this work to be carried out by persons not directly employed by us; such work will be charged to you at the hourly rate which would be charged if we had done the work ourselves.
- Routine letters, e-mails and texts that we send and routine telephone calls that we make and receive are charged at one-tenth of the hourly rate. Routine letters, e-mails and texts received are charged at one-twentieth of the hourly rate. Other letters, e-mails and calls are charged on a time spent basis.
- The current hourly rates are set out below. We will add VAT to these at the rate that applies when the work is done. At present, VAT is 20%.
- These hourly rates have to be reviewed periodically to reflect increases in overhead costs and inflation. Normally the rates are reviewed with effect from 1 January each year. If a review is carried out before this matter has been concluded, we will inform you of any variation in the rate before it takes effect.
- In addition to the time spent, we may take into account a number of factors including any need to carry out work outside our normal office hours, the complexity of the issues, the speed at which action has to be taken, any particular specialist expertise which the case may demand. An increase in the rates may be applied to reflect such factors. In property transactions, in the administration of estates and in matters involving a substantial financial value or benefit to a client, a charge reflecting, for example, the price of the property, the size of the estate, or the value of the financial benefit may be considered. It is not always possible to indicate how these aspects may arise but on present information we would expect them to be sufficiently taken into account in the rates which we have quoted. Where an increase in the rates or a charge reflecting any value element is to be added we will explain this to you.
- Solicitors have to pay out various other expenses on behalf of clients ranging from Land or Probate Registry fees, court fees, experts' fees, and so on. We have no obligation to make such payments unless you have provided us with the funds for that purpose. VAT is payable on certain expenses. We refer to such payments generally as 'disbursements'.
- If, for any reason, this matter does not proceed to completion, we will be entitled to charge you for work done and expenses incurred.
In certain circumstances we may be able to offer fixed fee quotations, please contact us directly.
Example approximate costs:
A typical conveyance for £100,000 will cost at a minimum in the region of £450 – 500 plus vat and disbursements.
An application for probate where the estate is under £325,000 may cost at a minimum of £1200 plus vat and disbursements
An application for a spouse visa or general visa may cost at a minimum in the region of £600 plus vat and disbursements
An application for a premises licence may cost at a minimum in the region of £500 plus vat and disbursements
Our complaints process:
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 here.
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 characteristic.
You can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
What do to if we cannot resolve your complaint
The Legal Ombudsman can help you if we are 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
- No more than six years from the date of act/omission; or
- No more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, please contact them.
Call: 0300 555 0333 between 9am to 5pm.
Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ