COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE

Porto Bella Solicitors Ltd knows that from time to time mistakes will happen, things will go wrong and where they do the practice wants to put things right when it feels there are genuine grounds for complaint. The complaints policy tells you about the standard you can expect from the practice, and the complaints handling procedure tells you how the practice will deal with your complaint and how long it is likely to take.

Complaints Policy
Porto Bella Solicitors Ltd is committed to providing a high-quality of service to all clients. When dealing with complaints, Porto Bella Solicitors Ltd will aim to be reasonable, fair, proportionate and accessible. The practice will use any valid concerns or complaints as a way of improving its service.

Complaints Handling Procedure
You will have already raised a complaint with the person handling your matter however, as your complaint has not been resolved, it’s been passed to the practice’s complaints handler.

Designated Complaints Handler
Porto Bella Solicitors Ltd designated complaints handler is Fariha Akhtar who is the senior partner at this practice.

Step One: Acknowledging your Complaint
Within five working days of receiving your complaint from the person handling your
matter, your complaint will be recorded in the practices complaints register, and a
separate file will be opened to store any correspondence and documents relating to
your complaint. Within five working days, Fariha Akhtar will send you a letter
acknowledging your complaint.

Step Two: Investigating your Complaint
Within 14 working days of sending the complaints policy and procedure to you (unless previously notified, in writing that more time is needed), Fariha Akhtar will review your file(s) and any other relevant documentation. You will be notified in writing as to whether Fariha Akhtar believes there are genuine grounds for a complaint.

If Fariha Akhtar agrees that there are genuine grounds for a complaint, she will send you a letter telling you how the practice proposes to deal with your complaint. Examples of what she might say in this letter are as follows:

If your complaint is straightforward she might make suggestions as to how the practice can put things right or may offer you some form of redress;

If your complaint is more complicated she might ask you to confirm, explain or clarify any issues;
She may ask to meet with you to discuss things face-to-face. If you would prefer not to meet, or if this cannot be arranged with an agreeable timescale, Fariha Akhtar Will write to you, setting out her views on the situation, or asking you to confirm, explain or clarify any issues.

Whichever form the investigation takes, Fariha Akhtar Will aim to give you a final decision within six weeks of receiving your complaint.

Step Three: Appealing against the Final Decision
If you are not satisfied with the final decision, please contact Fariha Akhtar and she will arrange for the office manager of the firm to review her decision. Fariha Akhtar will let you know the result of any appeal within five working days of receiving your appeal.

Step Four: The Legal Ombudsman
If you are still not satisfied, you can then contact the Legal Ombudsman about your complaint.

Ordinarily, you cannot use the Legal Ombudsman unless your first attempted to resolve your complaint using the practice’s internal complaints handling procedure. If you wish to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman you must be one of the following:

An individual;
A micro enterprise as defined in European recommendation 2003/361/EC of 6 May 2003 (broadly, and enterprise the fewer than 10 staff and a turnover or balance sheet value not exceeding £2 million);
A charity with an annual income of less than £1 million;
A club, association or society with an annual income less than £1 million;
A trustee of a trust with a net asset value of less than £1 million;
or A personal representative or the residuary beneficiaries of an estate where a person with a complaint died before referring it to the legal ombudsman.

If you are not, you should be aware that you can only obtain redress using the practices complaints handling procedure or by mediation or arbitration, or by taking action through the courts.

Legal Ombudsman Contact Details
Address: PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ

Telephone: 0300 555 0333 between 9am to 5pm

Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

Website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk