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. If you have a complaint, please contact us with the details.
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 of concern. If you would like to make a formal complaint, then you can read our full complaints procedure as set out below. We can assure you that making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case.
What will happen next?
- We aim to resolve your complaint within eight weeks of your notification. We will send you a letter acknowledging receipt of your complaint within three days of receiving it, enclosing a copy of this procedure.
- We will then investigate your complaint. This will normally involve passing your complaint to our complaints officer, Lolia Oruamabo, who will review your matter file and speak to the member of staff who acted for you. David Ashogbon, the principal will be responsible for handling complaints about Lolia Oruamabo.
- Lolia Oruamabo will then invite you to a meeting to discuss and hopefully resolve your complaint. He will do this within 14 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.
- Within three days of the meeting, Lolia Oruamabo will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions he has agreed with you.
- If you do not want a meeting or it is not possible, Lolia Oruamabo will send you a detailed written reply to your complaint, including his suggestions for resolving the matter, within 21 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.
- At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, you should contact us again and we will arrange for another someone unconnected with the matter at the firm to review the decision.
- 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.
- If you are still not satisfied, you can then contact the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) at PO Box 6167, Slough SL1 0EH about your complaint. You can also e-mail the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone them on 0300 555 0333 or +44 121 245 3050 if calling from overseas. For further information, please access the Legal Ombudsman (LeO)’s website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk.
A complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must be made
- Within six (6) months of receiving our final response to your complaint
- No more than one year from the date of the act or omission being complained about; or
- No more than one year from the date when you should reasonably have known that there was a cause for compliant.
You also may have a right to object to a bill by making a complaint to the Legal Complaint Ombudsman or the Office of Legal Complaints, and /or by applying to the court for an assessment of the bill under part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. If all or part of a bill remains unpaid, the firm may be entitled to charge interest.
If we must change any of the timescales above, we will let you know and explain why
What to do if you are unhappy with our behaviour
The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help 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.
Reporting a solicitor or firm to Solicitor Regulation Authority
The SRA Rules aim to uphold high professional standards. They insist that we solicitors and firms in England and Wales report serious breaches of the SRA rules to them.
The SRA also need the public, clients and others to let them know when things go wrong in a way that breaches its rules.
So, If you are unhappy with us regarding things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic and you are thinking about reporting us to the Solicitor Regulatory Authority, there are some things you need to know.
Please take the time to read this guidance before reporting your concerns. It will help you make sure that you are contacting the right organisation. And it will let you make sure your concerns are something SRA is able to help with.
If you report us to the Solicitor Regulatory Authority, SRA check if there is a serious breach of its rules that it need to investigate. SRA does not investigate all the reports it receives. If it decides to investigate, it collects and review evidence. If it decides that they do not need to investigate, SRA will clearly explain the reasons to you.
SRA investigate serious or repeated cases of poor behaviour or conduct. Types of things it usually investigates are set out below. It’s a list of examples. It’s not a list of everything we investigate.
- Dishonesty or fraud
- Misuse of client money
- Sexual or violent misconduct
- Serious criminal offences
- Misleading the court or others (for example, about what has been done on a case or about the evidence)
- Taking unfair advantage of you or others (For example, a solicitor persuades someone who does not have a legal adviser to sign an unfair settlement agreement, letting them think that it is in their interests and that they do not need independent legal advice.)
- Discriminating against you or others
- Serious concerns about the solvency of a firm (ie, employees have not been paid)
- Failing to act in the best of interests of a client, including the firm/solicitor acting for another client whose interests’ conflict or putting the firm/solicitor’s own interests first.
- Failing to take steps needed to safeguard against money laundering.
- Seriously reckless or incompetent behaviour or a pattern of behaviour that puts you (as a client), your money or your case at risk.
Each case is different and depends on its own facts and circumstances.
How SRA decide if a breach of our rules is serious
To decide if SRA need to investigate the reports it received, SRA applies an assessment threshold test.
As well as looking at the type of issue reported, SRA may look at:
- the motivation behind the solicitor’s or firm’s actions
- whether the solicitor’s or firm’s actions went on for some time or were repeated
- whether the firm or solicitor gained any benefit or advantage
- whether the solicitor or firm was dealing with a vulnerable person.
SRA will also look at how strong the evidence it has is and how much more evidence it may be able to get by investigating.
In order to take regulatory action, SRA need to be able to prove that the alleged facts are more likely to have occurred than not and that the concerns they raise are serious.
As a result, SRA may decide not to investigate if the evidence it has does not support the reported concerns and if it do not think we’ll be able to get evidence that does support them. This might be the case, for example, if:
- a key witness won’t help with our investigation.
- SRA cannot get evidence because the report is about events that happened a long time ago
- SRA would not be able to contradict a likely reasonable explanation by the firm or solicitor for what they did.
Poor service from a firm or solicitor
SRA does not usually investigate
- concerns about delays or communication
- disagreements about your bill
- isolated mistakes by your solicitor.
SRA cannot make a solicitor say sorry to you or pay compensation to you. If these are outcomes you are looking for, first raise your concerns with the solicitor or their firm. And, if you are not happy with their response, the Legal Ombudsman is the organisation that is best placed to help you.
The Legal Ombudsman can look at your complaint, investigate it and recommend that the firm:
- pay you compensation
- reduce your bill
- give you an apology
- take other steps to put things right.
Data protection breaches
SRA does expect solicitors to keep their clients’ information confidential. But data protection breaches such as accidentally sending an email or letter to the wrong address are usually best reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office rather than to SRA.
Matters already before the court
If a solicitor’s or a firm’s conduct has been criticised by the court, or if a solicitor has failed to comply with a final order or decision of the court, we normally investigate.
But we don’t usually investigate solicitors for not complying with court directions in ongoing legal cases, as the court is likely to deal with this as part of the proceedings.
Things we can’t help with
- SRA cannot take action against people or firms it do not regulate. SRA do not regulate every person and firm who offers legal services in England and Wales. You can check if SRA regulate a person or the firm where they work by searching our Solicitors Register. TNA Solicitors is regulated by the SRA
- SRA cannot intervene in legal disagreements with others, including disputes about fees, debts, wills, employment matters, divorces, eviction cases or family matters.
- SRA cannot tell a solicitor to take specific steps in your legal case or to stop taking steps in your case.
- SRA does not have the power to make a solicitor or firm say sorry to you, pay compensation to you for a mistake or to put things right in other ways. If the solicitor or firm you’re unhappy with has acted for you, the Legal Ombudsman may be able to help you.
- SRA cannot provide legal advice, such as advice about whether your solicitor has been negligent.
- In most cases, SRA cannot give you documents that a solicitor or firm has given to them during its investigation, for you to use in a legal claim against the Solicitors, for example.
You may wish to think about getting legal advice from another source. To find a solicitor in your local area, the Law Society’s Find a solicitor website is likely to be helpful. Or you can learn about people who provide legal advice at little or no cost.
After investigating, the type of action SRA can take includes:
- giving advice to a solicitor or firm
- warning a solicitor or firm about their professional conduct
- putting conditions on a solicitor’s licence to practise (known as a practising certificate), to make them do certain things (eg complete further training) or to stop them from carrying out certain activities or holding certain roles in a firm
- fining a solicitor or firm
- rebuking a solicitor or firm
- referring a solicitor or firm to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) (In a few, very serious cases, the SDT may suspend or strike off a solicitor from the roll. This means they can no longer work as a solicitor in England and Wales.)
- in very serious cases, closing down a firm to protect clients and client money. (This may happen at any time in the investigation process.)
Anyone can report concerns about a solicitor or a firm. This includes members of the public, clients, employees and employers, as well as other regulators.
Time limits for raising a concern.
There is no time limit for reporting concerns. But it’s a good idea to report your concerns as soon as possible. This will increase the chances of getting evidence to support your concerns.
If the events you report to SRA took place a long time ago, it may decide that it’s not proportionate to investigate the matters now, particularly if they are borderline and SRA have not received other complaints in the meantime.
How long we take to assess concerns and decide whether to investigate
SRA will decide whether to investigate by looking at the information you send to them and any other related information they hold. SRA may ask you or the firm for more information to help them decide whether to investigate or not.
SRA will acknowledge receipt of your report, saying when it will contact you next. It can take up to eight weeks to decide whether to investigate or not. SRA will let you know if it need any longer and explain why.
If SRA identify urgent problems, it will respond more quickly. For example, it will prioritise reports that a solicitor has stolen money, a sole practitioner has died or a firm has been infiltrated by a fraudster.
Explaining SRA decision to you
If SRA decide to investigate the concerns you report to it, they will write to you to explain the next steps in our process.
If it decides not to investigate, it will write to you to explain how it reached its decision. SRA would not be able to answer queries about the facts, as it would not have investigated.
If SRA cannot help, it will aim to suggest other sources of help.
If you think a solicitor or firm might have breached our rules, you should report your concerns to SRA.
Before you give SRA your report, please read its guidance about what it can and cannot help with.
Download, complete and return a form
The quickest, easiest way for most people to report concerns is to download, complete and return our report form which link is below.