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Business Continuity Update - 2nd Lockdown

In the light of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, we are maintaining the measures previously put in place to ensure that we still continue to keep the highest level of service to our clients and to help to protect our clients and our team.

Ash House office

We remain open for business and the office continues to be staffed by a combination of working from home and operating with a minimum number at Ash House. We can all be contacted directly on our mobile numbers for each team member supplied to our clients, or by the Ash House main number of 0121 770 1221.

As existing clients are aware, meetings are now virtual by phone or Zoom. If you wish to deliver papers to Ash House, please liaise with ourselves first, to save a wasted journey as the main gates may be closed.

Existing clients

Virtual attendances at conferences with Counsel and the Court, as before, are reviewed on an individual basis.

The Court remains open for Hearings. Routine hearings continue to be conducted remotely via telephone or Microsoft Teams.

We are finding that hearings other than routine ones are now likely to be attended in person. Attendance is limited depending on the Court and their Covid-19 plan. In attendance it is likely to be the parties and Counsel or Solicitor (if Counsel hasn’t been retained). If you are represented by Counsel, if possible and subject to arrangement with the Court office, your solicitor will attend virtually.

New clients

As far as new clients are concerned, we offer a first virtual meeting via Zoom, Teams or Skype on the basis that we receive in advance details of the client’s concerns, whether personal, financial, or involving children or any combination of those issues. We find this works well, particularly if followed by a meeting note or an email summarising the advice provided.

For the re-assurance of our clients, all confidential emails will be encrypted and the password information supplied on each occasion. The system we have is very user friendly.

General

Any queries or concerns please give me a call on 0121 770 1221 or email me on [email protected]

As the situation develops we will continue to be alert to government advice and will keep you updated as to any changes in our procedures and plans.

Complaints Handling Procedure

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 at any point you become unhappy with the service we provide to you or you have concerns about your bill, then you should inform us immediately so that we can do our best to resolve the problem for you.

If you have a complaint, please contact us with the details.

What will happen next?
  1. We will send you a letter acknowledging receipt of your complaint within three days of receiving it, enclosing a copy of this procedure.
  2. We will then investigate your complaint. This will normally involve passing your complaint to our Senior Partner, Mrs Mercy Messenger, who will review your matter file and speak to the member of staff who acted for you.
  3. Mercy Messenger will then invite you to a meeting to discuss and hopefully resolve your complaint. She will do this within 14 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.
  4. Within three days of the meeting, Mercy Messenger will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions she has agreed with you.
  5. If you do not want a meeting or it is not possible, Mercy Messenger will send you a detailed written reply to your complaint, including her suggestions for resolving the matter, within 21 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.
  6. At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, you should contact us again and we will arrange for someone unconnected with the matter at the firm to review her decision.
  7. We will write to you within 14 days of receiving your request for a review, confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons.
  8. If we are unable to resolve your complaint within eight weeks after you have brought it to our attention, then you can have the complaint independently looked at by the Legal Ombudsman. The Legal Ombudsman investigates complaints about poor service from lawyers.
  9. The Legal Ombudsman can investigate complaints up to six years from the date of the problem happening or within three years of when you found out about the problem. If you wish to refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman this must be done within six months of our final response to your complaint. The contact details for the Legal Ombudsman are as follows: Calls from both mobiles and landlines to 03 numbers cost no more than calls to national geographic numbers (starting 01 or 02). Calls are recorded and may be used for training and monitoring purposes.
    • For minicom call 0300 555 1777
    • In writing: Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
    Do not send original documents to the Legal Ombudsman. They will scan any documents you send to make computer copies and then destroy the originals.
  10. The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help you if you are concerned about our behaviour. This could be for concerns about dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic. You can raise your concerns directly with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (www.sra.org.uk).
  11. If we have to change any of the timescales above, we will let you know and explain why.
  12. We will not charge you for handling your complaint.