Our commitment

We are committed to providing a high quality legal service to all of our Clients.  When something goes wrong, we need you to tell us about it.  This will help us to improve our standards. Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case.

If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you have received or about the bill, please contact our Client Care Manager, Joanne Blackwood, by post at our Beach Road office 15 Beach Road, South Shields, NE33 2QE, or by telephone on 0191 427 0770 or by email at legal@ssandw.co.uk . Please provide details of the issues you wish to raise. Your complaint will then be dealt with in accordance with the procedure as follows.

What will happen next?

  • We will send you a letter acknowledging your complaint. We will also let you know the name of the person who will be dealing with your complaint. You can expect to receive our letter within 3* working days of us receiving your complaint.
  • We will record your complaint in our Central Register and open a file for your complaint. We will do this within a day of receiving your complaint.
  • We will then start to investigate your complaint. This may involve one or more of the following steps: a) We may ask the member of staff who acted for you to reply to your complaint within 20* working days, or b) We may ask one of the Partners to review your file and your comments. Once they have completed their enquiries, they will write to you setting out their findings usually within 20* working days unless further time is required.
  • If the above does not resolve the problem, at our discretion, we may give you the option to meet with the Partner/Supervisor to discuss and hopefully resolve your complaint. We will do this within 15* working days of receiving your response to our findings.
  • Within 15 *working days of any meeting, we will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions we have agreed with you.
  • If you are still not satisfied with our handling of your complaint you can ask the Legal Ombudsman to consider the complaint. Contact details are as follows: PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ. Tel 0300 555 0333. Email at  – www.legalombudsman.org.uk
  • Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint and within the following timescales: a) Six years from the date of the act or omission about which you are complaining occurring, or  b) Three years from the date you should reasonably have known there were grounds for complaint.

We would hope that this does not become necessary and that we can resolve matters between ourselves. If we have to change any of the above timescales we will let you know and explain why.

Complaints about your bill

The above complaints procedure also applies to complaints arising concerning our bill. There may also be a right to object to the bill by applying to the court for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974; and that if all, or part, of a bill remains unpaid, the Practice may be entitled to charge interest.

Raising concerns with our regulator

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) can help you 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. You can find information about raising your concerns with the SRA at www.sra.org.uk in the ‘For the public’.

Alternative dispute resolution

Alternative complaints bodies exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm consent to use such a scheme. In the event that you wish to use an alternative complaint body you should advise us accordingly.

 * Working days relates to Monday to Friday




Updated: January 2021