Complaints Policy

PLP is committed to delivering a high level quality service to our clients. If you are dissatisfied with the services PLP provides, we want you to be able to tell us about it.

PLP has a designated Complaints Officer, who is currently Sara Lomri, the Deputy Legal Director and one of PLP’s supervising solicitors.

PLP defines a complaint as any written or verbal expression of dissatisfaction made by a client, approved supplier, or other third party to any person working within PLP.

A complaint may be identified in a letter, telephone call, email, fax, or in the course of a face-to-face conversation.

A complaint may involve:

  • Dissatisfaction with the handling of a case;
  • Disappointment with an alleged lack of communication;
  • Frustration with an alleged lack of case progress;
  • An allegation of discrimination;
  • Dissatisfaction with the outcome of a case.

Issues of a very minor nature, for example, not returning a non-urgent telephone call until the following day, are unlikely to amount to a complaint.

PLP aims to deal with any complaints promptly, fairly, openly and effectively. The way in which we deal with complaints is explained below.

Stage One

Any complaint will be first addressed by the lawyer with responsibility for your case. It is possible that the free earner doing the day-to-day work on your case will not be a qualified lawyer (i.e., they are a paralegal or trainee solicitor/pupil barrister). If so, a qualified lawyer will still have overall responsibility for your case, and this lawyer will deal with your complaint.

The lawyer handling your complaint will make sure that they understand the reasons why you are complaining, and what you would like PLP to do to put things right. They will try to resolve things with you at the earliest opportunity. If they cannot resolve your complaint straight away, they will aim to get back to you within five working days.

The lawyer handling the complaint will notify PLP’s Complaints Officer that a complaint has been made and how they intend to respond.

If you do not feel that you can raise the matter with the lawyer with conduct of your case; if you are not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint at this stage; or if the matter is urgent and you do not want to wait, you can ask for your complaint to be passed straight to Stage Two of our complaints procedure.

Stage Two

Complaints at Stage Two of PLP’s complaints procedure will be considered by our Complaints Officer, unless the complaint is about the Complaints Officer or s/he is unable to deal with the complaint for any other reason. In this case PLP’s Director, Jo Hickman, will act as a Complaints Officer.

The Complaints Officer will aim to acknowledge receipt of all complaints within five working days. The Complaints Officer will also consider whether it is necessary to categorise a complaint as particularly serious or urgent. S/he will then investigate the complaint and respond to you within 15 working days whenever possible (and sooner if your complaint is urgent).

The Complaints Officer will let you know if the investigation into your complaint will take longer than 15 days to resolve and explain the reason for this. You will receive a response in writing unless they have asked us to communicate with them in another way.

Stage Three

If you remain unhappy after your complaint has been considered at Stage One and Stage Two of PLP’s complaints procedure, you may ask for it to be considered by the Chair of PLP’s Management Committee (or by another member of the Committee if the Chair is not available). PLP’s Chair will consider your complaint afresh; will decide if any further investigation is needed; and will reach his/her own decision. That decision represents the final outcome of PLP’s complaints procedure.

Remedies

If a complaint is fully or partially upheld at any stage of PLP’s complaints procedure, then we will consider whether any or all of the following would be appropriate:

  • Making an apology;
  • Taking urgent steps to rectify any unfairness or loss caused as a result of what we did wrong;
  • Reviewing our policies or procedures to try and make sure it does not happen again;
  • Implementing staff training to rectify our areas of weakness.

If an upheld complaint suggests misconduct on behalf of a member of staff then PLP may also consider taking appropriate disciplinary action.

If you have been through our complaints procedure and you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of your complaint, or if we have not responded to your complaint within eight weeks of it being made, you may ask the Legal Ombudsman to consider your complaint. Please be aware that any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within six months of your having received a final written response from us about your complaint. Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman must also usually be made within six years of the act or omission about which you are complaining occurring; or within three years from when you should have known about or become aware that there were grounds for complaint. For further information, you should contact the Legal Ombudsman on 0300 555 0333 or visit www.legalombudsman.org.uk.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority could help you if you are concerned about a solicitor’s behaviour. They can be reached here: 0370 606 2555.

You can complain to the OISC if your complaint relates to the provision of immigration advice and services by PLP’s employed lawyers. Their contact information is as listed: 020 7211 1500.

5th Floor, 21 Bloomsbury Street, London WC1B 3HF.