If you have a complaint about a lawyer in England or Wales, you should contact the Legal Ombudsman, which is an independent service for handling legal complaints such as delay, lack of communication and problems with your bill. The Legal Ombudsman can ask the lawyer and law firm to apologise to you, give you back any documents you might need, refund or reduce your legal fees, or pay compensation (up to £50,000). Contact details for the Legal Ombudsman
Last updated 1 March 2013
We are committed to providing a high standard of service and to dealing with everyone fairly and equally. We understand that we may not always get it right and we will respond to any concerns you may have. We will do everything we can to sort out your complaint quickly and efficiently.
What complaints can you deal with?
We can deal with complaints about the service we have provided, for example if you feel we have not treated you fairly, or we took too long to deal with your case. Please make your complaint as soon as possible after the problem arose – we will only look at complaints we receive after six months of the issues complained about if there is a good reason for the delay.
We will not be able to change formal decisions we have made about your case through our complaints policy – that is only possible by using any right of appeal you may have. However, if we have failed seriously in the way we handled your case, we may reconsider our decision.
How do I make a complaint?
You can make your complaint online, in writing or by speaking to the person you have been dealing with, their manager, or the central Complaints Team.
To help us make sure we have understood your complaint, and not missed anything, please tell us:
- your full name, contact details and any reference number you may have for your case;
- what you think we have done wrong; and
- what you think we should do to put things right.
If you need any help making your complaint, we will do our best to help you.
Please also read our policy on managing unreasonable behaviour towards SRA staff.
How will you deal with my complaint?
In most cases, the best person to respond quickly to your complaint is the person you have been dealing with or their manager. We will acknowledge your complaint within five working days of receiving it and the department you've been dealing with will respond to you within 10 working days of acknowledging your complaint. We may be able to deal with the matter in a phone call, or we may need to carry out a detailed review of your case. In all cases we will write to you to tell you the outcome of your complaint and to give you the opportunity to have your complaint reviewed by our Complaints Team if you are not satisfied with the outcome.
The Complaints Team will acknowledge your complaint within five working days of receiving it. It may take them up to 20 working days to respond to your complaint from the date they acknowledge it.
In some cases, the department you have been dealing with may pass your complaint directly to the Complaints Team. (If they do this, we will tell you why.)
What if my complaint is justified?
If your complaint is justified, we will apologise to you and explain what went wrong and how we plan to put things right. We will learn from our mistakes to improve how we work. In serious cases, we may consider offering a special payment for failures in our service.
What if I am not satisfied with the response from the Complaints Team?
If you are still unhappy with our response, you can ask the Independent Complaint Resolution Service (ICRS) to review your complaint. The ICRS is independent of us, and you can either tell us that you would like to refer your complaint to them or contact the ICRS directly. You must do this within 15 working days of being sent the response from the Complaints Team.
The ICRS will only be able to investigate your complaint after we have completed all the stages of our complaints procedure. They have specific conditions for accepting a complaint, and will decide whether to carry out a full review by considering, among other things, whether:
- we have already dealt with your complaint fully and responded appropriately;
- it would be unreasonable to carry out a full review, for example if the complaint is a minor one; or
- there is an opportunity for you and us to sort out the complaint.
You can get full details of the ICRS conditions for accepting complaints from the ICRS website or in their leaflet How we deal with complaints about the SRA (PDF 6 Pages, 68K).
Complaints about solicitors
If you have a complaint about a lawyer in England or Wales you should contact the Legal Ombudsman, which is an independent service for handling legal complaints such as delay, lack of communication and problems with your bill. The Legal Ombudsman can ask the lawyer and law firm to apologise to you, give you back any documents you might need, refund or reduce your legal fees, or pay compensation (up to £50,000). Their contact details are below.
How to contact the Legal Ombudsman
Contact the Legal Ombudsman to complain about service you have received from a lawyer in England or Wales.
PO Box 6806
By phone: 0300 555 0333
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
How to contact the SRA Complaints Team
Contact the SRA Complaints Team to complain about service you have received from the SRA.
The Complaints Team
The Solicitors Regulation Authority
199 Wharfside Street
By phone: 0870 606 2555
By email: email@example.com
How to contact the Independent Complaints Resolution Service (ICRS)
By phone: 020 7930 0749
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like this web page in large print or in Braille, please phone us on 0870 606 2555 (8.00 to 18.00 Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and 9.30 to 18.00 Tuesday) or email complaints team.
SRA complaints leaflet (PDF 2 pages, 290K)
Please use www.sra.org.uk/complain to link to this page.