COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE

We aim to give all of our clients a good service at all times and to deal with everybody with fairness and courtesy. If however you have a complaint, please let us know as soon as possible.

This document sets out the policy and procedures that Abbas Media Law (‘AML’) will normally follow when dealing with a complaint (although we may depart from it in appropriate cases).

How to complain

Minor complaints such as matters of discourtesy may be made by telephone or in person either to the relevant AML lawyer or to Nigel Abbas, the Founder and CEO of AML. When contacting us, please state the nature of your complaint and what you would like us to do about it. We aim to resolve telephone complaints promptly and informally. If we do so, we will make a note of the resolution. You may wish to do the same.

For other complaints, including complaints about a failure in professional service, please contact us in writing. If you have complained by telephone or in person and it has not been resolved to your satisfaction, please write to us. Once we receive a written complaint, we will investigate it formally.

When making a written complaint, please provide the following details:

  • Your name and address;
  • If you are complaining about an AML member of staff, please name the AML lawyer in question;
  • The capacity in which you are complaining (as a client, or on behalf of one, or otherwise);
  • The details of the complaint; and
  • What you would like us to do about it.

 

Please address all written complaints to AML’s Head of Legal Practice: Nigel Abbas, Abbas Media Law, 1st Floor, 239 Kensington High Street, London, W8 6SN. Alternatively, or additionally, please email the complaint to nigel@abbasmedialaw.com.

Delay may make it harder for us to investigate your complaint and establish the facts so please contact us as promptly as possible. We may decline to investigate a complaint which is made more than 12 months after the act or omission complained about, without good reason for the delay. Further information about the time limits on any action by the Legal Ombudsman is set out below.

Dealing with your complaint

We aim to acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 48 hours of us receiving it and to provide you with details of how we will deal with your complaint.

Once we receive a complaint, we will appoint an AML staff member to investigate. We have a panel headed by Nigel Abbas, AML’s founder and CEO, and senior AML staff. Within 14 days of receiving a written complaint, Nigel Abbas will appoint a panel member to investigate. If your complaint is about Nigel, the next most senior panel member will investigate it. The person appointed to investigate your complaint will never be the person you are complaining about.

The person appointed to investigate your complaint will write to you as soon as possible to let you know he or she has been appointed and that they will reply to your complaint within a further 14 days (which should be no more than 28 days after AML receives your complaint). If that person finds later that they are not going to be able to reply within 14 days, they will set a new date for their reply and inform you. The reply will set out:

  • The nature and scope of their investigation;
  • The conclusion on each complaint and the basis for his/her conclusion; and
  • If he or she finds that your complaint was justified, his/her proposal for resolving the complaint.
Confidentiality

All conversations and documents relating to your complaint will be treated as confidential and will only be disclosed to the extent that is necessary for investigating your complaint. Disclosure will be to Nigel Abbas, members of AML management and anyone involved in the complaint and its investigation, as necessary. Such people will include the AML lawyer or staff member whom you have complained about, the head or relevant panel member and the person investigating the complaint. Solicitors Regulation Authority, AML’s regulator, is entitled to inspect the documents and seek information about the complaint when discharging its auditing and monitoring functions.

If you are not a client of ours our duty of client confidentiality may restrict our ability to disclose information to you. If you are complaining on behalf of a client of ours, we may require you to prove the client has authorised you to do so before we disclose confidential information to you.

Taking it further

If you are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation you may take it to another regulatory body. Which body has power to deal with your complaint depends on whether you are complaining as a client of AML, or in some other role.

If you are a client you can take up your complaint with the Legal Ombudsman (http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk), the independent body for complaints about lawyers’ services. You can write to the Ombudsman at: Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806 Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ Telephone number 0300 555 0333 E-mail enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk .

There is advice about submitting a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, including fact sheets on their website – http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/ Once you have made a complaint to us, we have up to eight weeks to respond. If you are not happy with our final response, or we haven’t responded within the eight weeks, you can ask the Legal Ombudsman to look at your complaint.

Ordinarily, you can ask the Legal Ombudsman to look at your complaint if:

  • The problem or when you found out about it, happened after 5 October 2010; and
  • You are referring your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within either of the following: Six years of the problem happening; or Three years from when you found out about it; and
  • If AML has investigated a complaint and responded, the time limit for a complaint will ordinarily be six months from the date of the written response.

 

If your complaint does not meet these time limits the Legal Ombudsman may not be able to investigate it.

Please note that to be entitled to complain to the Legal Ombudsman, you must be:

  1. An individual;
  2. A business or enterprise that is a micro-enterprise (European Union definition[1]);
  3. A charity that has an annual income, net of tax, of less than £1 million;
  4. A club/association/organisation, the affairs of which are managed by its members/a committee/a committee of its members, that has an annual income, net of tax, of less than £1 million;
  5. A trustee of a trust with an asset value of less than £1 million; or
  6. A personal representative or beneficiary of the estate of a person who, before they died, had not referred the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.

Our written response to you must explain – prominently – that the Legal Ombudsman is available if you remain dissatisfied, provide full contact details for the Legal Ombudsman and warn that the complaint must be referred to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of the date of our written response. If our response does not include this information, this six month time limit will not apply.

If you are not a client of AML then the Legal Ombudsman is unlikely to be able to deal with your complaint. If your complaint relates to the conduct of a solicitor, you may be able to complain to the Solicitors Regulations Authority, the independent regulator of solicitors. Details of how to complain are provide on the SRA’s website:
https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor/

Alternative complaints bodies such as ProMediate (see: https://www.promediate.co.uk/) can also deal with complaints about legal services if we remain unable to resolve your complaint and agree to use such a scheme. If you would like to explore this option, please contact us.

1. Micro enterprises are defined as enterprises which employ fewer than 10 persons and whose annual turnover or annual balance sheet total does not exceed €2 million. (Article 1 and Article 2(1) and (3) of the Annex to Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC, as that Recommendation had effect at the date it was adopted.)