We hope that you are happy with our handling of your case. However, if you have any queries or concerns about the service we have provided, please inform us immediately, so that we can do our best to resolve the problem. Our full Complaints Procedure is below.
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.
We recognise that “complaints” can vary greatly in significance. It may be that you wish to complain about something and wish to have this complaint taken seriously and acted upon, but do not wish to invoke our formal complaints procedure.
Raising an initial concern without invoking our formal complaints procedure
In the first instance, it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your case to discuss your concerns. We will do our best to resolve any issues.
If you do have an issue to report, for example, that one of our fee earners has not returned your telephone call, you may simply want an apology and for your call to be returned and for this always to happen in future - it is our intention that calls should always be returned, on the same day where possible, but you will appreciate that this is not always possible.
However, if you are dissatisfied you should certainly tell us so.
We will not treat this as a formal complaint unless you ask us to do so.
Crane & Staples’ Formal Complaints Procedure
To register a formal complaint, please write to us and include all the information suggested by the Legal Ombudsman - their website includes some useful resources.
In normal circumstances, you are required to register a complaint to us within one year of the conclusion of your matter.
You must then give us 8 weeks to try to resolve your complaint before contacting the Legal Ombudsman. A complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must normally be made within six months of the date of the conclusion of the Firm's complaints procedure.
If we receive a letter of complaint from you, we will endeavour to acknowledge your letter within 3 working days and either treat the matter as a formal complaint or ask if you wish us to do so.
If as a result of your letter and/or subsequent response we instigate the formal complaints procedure we will log the complaint and deal with it in the following manner:
- If the complaint is against a fee earner or other member of staff, who is not a Partner, the matter will be considered initially by the Head of Department who will write to you to acknowledge the complaint and to confirm that they are dealing with it formally and may ask you for further information regarding the circumstances and nature of the complaint.
- The Head of Department will then ask the Fee Earner (and other members of staff if necessary) to provide full information and a response to the issues raised in your complaint.
- Within 14 days, or sooner if possible, the Head of Department will write to you again to reply to your complaint, tell you what action we propose to take and, we hope, resolve the position.
- If your complaint is against a Partner, then that complaint will be dealt with by the Complaints Handling Partner for the firm.
- If you advise us that you are not satisfied with the response received, the matter will then be passed to the Complaints Handling Partner with details of any further information you provide.
- The Complaints Handling Partner will then review your complaint and the response and reply to you within a further 7 days.
We will always try to learn from any complaints made, issue fresh instructions to staff and set up procedures to try to avoid such a situation arising again.
What to do if we cannot resolve your complaint
The Legal Ombudsman can help you if we are unable to resolve your complaint ourselves. The Legal Ombudsman service has been operational since October 6th, 2010 and is ultimately responsible for ensuring that complaints are dealt with appropriately.
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 one year 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.
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.
Visit their website to see how you can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Other Complaints Bodies
In addition to the Legal Ombudsman, several other complaints bodies exist which are also able to deal with complaints about legal services - these are: Ombudsman Services, ProMediate, Small Claims Mediation and the European Online Dispute Resolution platform. Information about these alternatives can be found at:
Reviewed July 2023