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 do have a complaint, then please let us know about it promptly. In many cases, misunderstandings or complaints of a minor nature can be dealt with informally over the telephone or via e-mail. We will fully document every complaint and our handling of it and we will send you a copy of our file relating to it, free of charge, upon request. If you feel that your complaint is more serious, then you should set it out in writing and send it to Thomas Hutchinson at our Southport office.
If you decide to write to us, then we will endeavour to 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 and will write to you to give you the option to meet with us to discuss, and hopefully resolve, your complaint, or to deal with the matter in writing. Where you choose to discuss the matter in-person, we will try to arrange a meeting with you promptly (usually within 14 days). Within three days of the meeting, we will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions we have agreed with you. If you do not want a meeting or if it is not possible, we will endeavour to send you a detailed written reply to your complaint, including our suggestions for resolving the matter, within a reasonable period of time (usually 21 days).
If, at this stage, you are still not satisfied, we may also offer you the opportunity to involve an independent mediator to assist with resolving the complaint. We will always advise you of your right to raise your concerns with the appropriate regulatory body (usually the Intellectual Property Regulation Board (IPReg) or the European Patent Institute (EPi) for misconduct, the Legal Ombudsman for poor service) and we will assist you in contacting the relevant body and will cooperate fully in their investigation.
If after our investigation and response you are still not satisfied with the quality of service offered, The Legal Services Act has set up the Legal Ombudsman to deal with complaints of poor service. Ordinarily, a complainant must also refer a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within one year from the act/omission complained of; or one year from when the complainant should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint without taking advice from a third party; whichever is later; and generally within six months of the firm’s response providing it. We will confirm the relevant deadline in our response to a complaint made to us. Please note that the Legal Ombudsman generally handles complaints only by individuals, very small businesses, charities, trusts and clubs and associations. You can contact the Legal Ombudsman at PO Box 15870, Birmingham B30 9EB; or by telephone on 0300 555 0333; via the website www.legalombudsman.org.uk or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively if the complaint concerns a matter of professional misconduct rather than poor service if you remain dissatisfied you can contact the Intellectual Property Regulation Board (IPReg) about your complaint or in some cases (mainly complaints between professionals) the European Patent Institute (EPi). Any complaint to the IPReg must usually be made within twelve months of the date of the professional misconduct alleged or your discovery of it but for further information, you should contact the IPReg on 020 7353 4373 or via their Website www.ipreg.org.uk or by email to email@example.com.