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Our Complaints Policy

We are committed to providing a high quality service to all our clients.  Our aim is to give you no cause for complaint but when something does go wrong, we need you to tell us about it.  Our Complaints Procedure is designed to help you bring your dissatisfaction to our attention so we can look at what has happened and provide you with an explanation.  We will try to resolve the matter fairly and quickly.  We will apologise if need be and do our best to offer a practical solution.  You will not be charged for time spent investigating your complaint and it will not prejudice or disrupt your case.

 

Who to contact

  • We have a two stage internal complaints procedure details of which appear below.  If we are unable to resolve your complaint through our internal procedures you can then contact the Legal Ombudsman, an independent body that handles complaints about legal services.  Details of how to contact the Legal Ombudsman appear below.
  • Initially you should contact the Supervisor of the person who is the subject of your complaint.  You will find the supervisors details in your initial paperwork.  If you are unable to locate this information you can contact our Complaints Officer.
  • Our Complaints Officer is Emma Payne.  Emma is the Manager of the Quality and Compliance Department.
  • If the supervisor is unable to resolve your complaint you can then refer the complaint to our Complaints Officer.
  • If your Compliant requires review, the review will be conducted by the Chief Operating Officer Mark Fallon.
  • If our Complaints Officer and/or our Chief Operating Officer are unable to resolve your complaint you can then contact the Legal Ombudsman.

 

How to make contact

  • It is preferable to put your complaint to the Supervisor or Emma Payne in writing to our head office at 5 Towers Court, Duckworth Street, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB2 2JQ or via email on emma.payne@lancemason.co.uk  alternatively you can contact her by telephone on 01254 263 885 ext. 336.  A detailed note of points discussed over the telephone will then form the basis of your complaint.

 

What will happen next

  1. We will send you a letter acknowledging receipt of your complaint within 2 working days of receiving it, enclosing a copy of this procedure.
  2. We will then investigate your complaint.  This will usually involve the Complaints Officer reviewing your file and speaking to the member of staff who has conduct of your file.
  3. The Complaints Officer will then write to you with her findings within 21 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.  However, if the complaint is complicated further time may be needed.  If necessary the Complaints Officer will write and tell you and set another time limit.  It may take up to 8 weeks to investigate and resolve your complaint.
  4. If further information is required in order to investigate the complaint, you may also receive a second letter within this timescale from the person responsible for handling your case.  If we request further information from you, we will write to you again advising you what we will do next.
  5. We may suggest to you that your complaint can best be resolved through a face-to-face meeting rather than by correspondence.  The meeting may need to involve the person dealing with your case and/or the Compliance and Quality Manager.
  6. Within 5 working days of any meeting, we will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions we have agreed with you.
  7. If you do not want a meeting or it is not possible to arrange, we will send to you a detailed reply to your complaint including any suggestions for resolving the matter. 
  8. If you are dissatisfied with the response from the Complaints Officer, then you will need to contact the Chief Operating Officer Mr Mark Fallon and request a review.  He will then carry out a further review and will write to you confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons within 14 days.
  9. In some cases, an appropriate alternative at this stage might be mediation to review the decision.
  10. If you are still not satisfied, you can contact the Legal Ombudsman. Their postal address is Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ.  Alternatively, they can be contacted by e-mail at enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk or telephone on 0300 555 1777. Further information is available on their website at  www.legalombudsman.org.uk.

 

If we have to change any of the timescales above, we will let you know and explain why.

 

Any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within six months of the date of our final written response on your complaint.  The Ombudsman will allow us a period of 8 weeks to resolve your complaint.  Ordinarily you must make a complaint within one year of the matter giving rise to the complaint or a year from when you should have reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.

 

If your complaint relates to our bill there are special rules about your right to apply for a remuneration certificate.  Clients can challenge their bill by applying for an assessment of the Bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.  The Legal Ombudsman may not consider a complaint about the bill if a client has applied to the court for assessment of the bill.  Please note that if part or all of the bill remains outstanding we may be entitled to charge you interest.

 

Further Information

For further information about the complaints procedure contact the Compliance and Quality Manager Emma Payne at emma.payne@lancemason.co.uk or 01254 263 885 ext. 336.