At Lewis Silkin we aim to provide a high quality legal service to all clients.
Our policy concerning complaints
We recognise that complaints may provide us with an opportunity to check the quality of our service and to make improvements. We also recognise that we have regulatory obligations to provide information about our complaints procedure to our clients at the outset of their matter; and that we should deal with all complaints promptly, fairly, openly and effectively.
Minor concerns can often be resolved by informal discussion with the partner responsible for a particular matter and we encourage clients with concerns to raise these with their Client Partner or Matter Partner in the first instance, regardless of which jurisdiction they are based in.
How can a formal complaint be made?
Please make any complaint as soon as possible following the acts or omissions about which you wish to complain. Time limits may apply depending on which jurisdiction you are based in.
We will normally acknowledge each formal complaint within two working days of receipt and tell you the name of the person who will investigate the complaint. Usually this will either be the firm’s General Counsel, or a partner who has not been involved in the matter about which your complaint is made, but one who practises in the relevant field of law.
The person carrying out the investigation will establish a separate file for that investigation to keep a written record of it and so that we can readily provide the investigation file to any relevant authority if subsequently requested.
The person investigating the complaint will review your complaint with the person handling the matter, consider relevant papers from the file and other records, and make any wider enquiries within the firm as may be necessary. He or she may also ask to meet with you in the course of our investigation, if clarification is needed of any points raised in your complaint.
We will usually respond substantively to a complaint within 28 calendar days. If that is not possible, we will let you know when you will receive our full response. We aim always to respond to a complaint within 56 days of its first being made to us.
In our substantive response to you, we will:
- outline the investigations that we have carried out;
- set out our conclusions in relation to your complaint; and
- explain how we have reached those conclusions based on our investigation.
If we find that we have fallen short of what you should have expected from us, then we may also:
- explain what went wrong;
- propose one or more remedies to you; and/or
- explain how we have changed our practices to prevent similar problems in the future.
No charge will be made to you for the work done in responding to your complaint.
England and Wales
If you are a client of Lewis Silkin in England and Wales and you wish to make a complaint about any aspect of our service to you, including our fees, then please write to the General Counsel (Tom Crease), at our London office, setting out the details of your complaint. We will investigate in accordance with our general policy above.
Before setting out your complaint you may wish to review the guidance notes published by the Legal Ombudsman relating to complaints against solicitors. These are published on the Legal Ombudsman’s website, the details of which are provided below.
Please make any complaint as soon as possible following the acts or omissions about which you wish to complain and in any event within the time limits prescribed by the Legal Ombudsman referred to below (and which can be found on their website).
If your complaint concerns our fees, you may also have the right to challenge our fees by applying to the court for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitor’s Act 1974. Please note that certain time limits apply to these procedures and the Legal Ombudsman may not be able to consider a complaint about our fees if you have applied to the court for detailed assessment of our fees.
The Legal Ombudsman
If you are not satisfied with the response that we have provided to your complaint, then you may have the right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman. This right is available to all individual clients and to some organisational clients.
The Legal Ombudsman deals with complaints against solicitors and may be contacted at:
The Legal Ombudsman
PO Box 6806
Tel: 0300 555 0333
Please be aware that the Legal Ombudsman has published certain rules on its website in relation to complaints, including rules about:
- who can complain;
- the subject matter of complaints; and
- the time limits within which complaints need to be brought.
Should you wish to complain to the Legal Ombudsman, you must do so:
- within six months of receipt of our final written response; and
- within six years from the date of the act/omission, or three years from when you should have reasonably known about the complaint.
The Legal Ombudsman service is free of charge.
The Solicitors Regulatory Authority
We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (Authorisation no. 439493). If you have a complaint about our conduct, particularly in relation to dishonesty, financial wrongdoing or discrimination, the SRA may be able to help you. Further information is available here and they may be contacted at:
Solicitors Regulation Authority
199 Wharfside Street
Tel: 0370 606 2555
If you are a client of Lewis Silkin in Ireland and wish to make a complaint about any aspect of our service to you then please write to Siobhra Rush, partner and head of our Dublin office, setting out the details of your complaint. We will investigate in accordance with our general policy above.
We are authorised and regulated by the Law Society of Ireland. However, since 7 October 2019, the Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA) deals with complaints against solicitors in relation to inadequate services, excessive costs, and alleged misconduct. The contact details for the Authority are:
LSRA, PO Box 12906, Dublin 2
Tel: 01 859 2911
All complaints must be made to the LSRA in writing. Complaints which relate to alleged inadequate standard of service or excessive costs (or both) have a time limit of three years. There is no time limit for making a complaint of alleged misconduct. Full details of the LSRA’s procedures are available here.
If you are a client of Lewis Silkin in Hong Kong and wish to make a complaint about any aspect of our service to you then please write to Kathryn Weaver, partner and manager of the Hong Kong office, setting out the details of your complaint. We will investigate in accordance with our general policy above.
We are authorised and regulated by the Law Society of Hong Kong. If you have a complaint of a professional misconduct nature, you can gain information and download a complaint form here. They say that it may be difficult to investigate into your complaint properly if significant time has passed since the event leading to your complaint arose. You can also contact them at:
The Law Society of Hong Kong
3/F, Wing On House,
71 Des Voeux Road Central,
Last updated: 20 April 2020