COMPLAINTS HANDLING PROCEDURE
Our complaints policy
We are committed to providing a high quality legal service and to dealing with all our clients fairly. We acknowledge that we may not always get it right so if something has gone wrong, including in relation to the bill, we need you to tell us.
How do I make a complaint?
You can contact us in writing (by letter, fax or email) or by speaking with our complaints handling solicitor, Karen Pang whose contact details are:
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 01460 279275
To help us to understand your complaint, and in order that we do not miss anything, please tell us:
- your full name and contact details
- what you think we have got wrong
- what you hope to achieve as a result of your complaint, and
- your file reference number (if you have it)
If you require any help in making your complaint we will try to help you.
How will you deal with my complaint?
1. We will record your complaint centrally.
2. We will write to you within three working days acknowledging your complaint, enclosing a copy of this policy.
3. We will investigate your complaint. This will usually involve:
- reviewing your complaint
- reviewing your file(s) and other relevant documents, and
- speaking with the person who dealt with your matter
4. We may also need to ask you for further information or documents. If so, we will ask you to provide the information within a specific period of time.
5. We will update you on the progress of your complaint at appropriate times.
6. We may also, if appropriate, invite you to a meeting to discuss your complaint. You do not have to attend if you do not wish to or if you are unable to. We will be happy to discuss the matter with you on the telephone.
7. We will write to you at the end of our investigation to tell you what we have done and what we propose to do to resolve your complaint. We aim to do this within 21 days of receiving all necessary information, but circumstances or the complexity of the matter may dictate that more time or indeed a quicker response is needed. We will notify you if more time is required.
What if I am not satisfied with the outcome?
If you are unhappy with the outcome of our complaints handling procedure please first let us know. You can do this is writing or request a meeting with Mrs Pang or speak with her over the telephone. Our aim is to achieve a satisfactory resolution wherever possible.
If you are still unhappy you can ask the Legal Ombudsman to look into your complaint. You can contact the Legal Ombudsman:
- by post at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
- by telephone: 0300 555 0333, or
- by email: [email protected]
You must usually refer your complaint within six months of our final written response to your complaint and within six years of the act or omission about which you are complaining occurring (or within three years of you becoming aware of it). Further details are available on the website: legalombudsman.org.uk.
Alternative complaints bodies (such as Small Claims Mediation (small-claims-mediation.co.uk) exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme. We have, however, chosen not to adopt an ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) process. If, therefore, you wish to complain further, you should contact the Legal Ombudsman.
What will it cost?
We will not charge you for handling your complaint.
Please note that if we have issued a bill for work done on the matter, and all or some of the bill is not paid, we may be entitled to charge interest on the amount outstanding.
The Legal Ombudsman service is free of charge.
EQUALITY DIVERSITY STATEMENT
Stokes Partners LLP aims to promote equality of opportunity in employment, in its dealings with clients and in service delivery, and has a policy for this purpose.The policy covers all aspects of employment, from advertising vacancies, recruitment and selection, training and conditions of service, and all aspects of professional dealings with clients, including the engagement of professional services. A copy of our Equality and Diversity Policy is available on request via our Compliance Solicitor Karen Pang.
Who are we?
Stokes Partners LLP is a limited liability partnership incorporated in England and Wales and is a “controller” under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018.
We are registered under the Data Protection legislation to hold personal data on a database. Any personal information in our possession will be treated as private and confidential and used only in relation to our business as authorised by that legislation.
Whose data do we hold?
We may hold data about the following people:
- our clients
- prospective clients and enquirers
- employees and prospective employees
- work experience students
- contractors, suppliers and service providers
- advisors, consultants and other professional experts
- those with whom we work in the context of our Corporate Responsibility initiatives
- any other visitor to our offices.
What information will we collect?
We may collect and process information about you through various means, including:
- in the course of carrying out work for you (or your business)
- via our website (e.g. on our ‘Contact Us’ page)
- by email
- by telephone
- networking (e.g. at seminars, client events and/or other meetings or events either hosted or attended by us)
- otherwise through providing our legal services or operating our business.
We will only collect information from you that is relevant to the matter that we are dealing with. In particular, we may collect the following information from you which is defined as “personal data”, eg:
- personal information
- contact information
- employment and job application details
- family, lifestyle and social circumstances
- financial details
- business activities of the person whose details we are processing
- the content of any enquiry submitted over our website
- if you contact us, we may keep a record of that correspondence.
We may also collect information that is referred to as being in a “special category”. This may include:
- personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, or trade union membership;
- data concerning health, a person’s sex life or sexual orientation; or
- genetic or biometric data processed for the purpose of uniquely identifying a natural person
Legal basis for processing
The basis on which we process your personal data is one or more of the following:
- it is necessary for the performance of our contract with you
- it is necessary for us to comply with a legal obligation
- it is in our legitimate interests to do so
- you have given us your consent (this can be withdrawn at any time by advising our data protection officer)
How will we use this information?
We may use your information for the following purposes:
- provision of legal services including advising and acting on behalf of clients
- to respond to any query that you may submit to us
- undertaking conflict checks, anti-money laundering and sanctions checks
- promotion of our services
- provision of education and training to staff
- maintaining accounts and records
- supporting and managing staff
- debt collection
- processing your bank/credit card details for payments
- the prevention and detection of fraud
- legal and regulatory compliance
- customising our website and ensuring content is presented in the most effective manner
We may use your personal data to send you updates (by email, text message, telephone or post) about legal developments that might be of interest to you and/or information about our services, promotions or new services.
We are sensitive to our clients’ attitude towards unsolicited communications. We have a legitimate interest in processing your personal data for marketing purposes, which means we do not usually need your consent to send you promotional communications. However, where consent is needed, we will ask for this consent separately and clearly.
We will always treat your personal data with the utmost respect and never sell OR share it with other organisations outside Stokes Partners LLP for marketing purposes.
You have the right to opt out of receiving promotional communications at any time. To do this:
- you can write to the Data Protection Officer at Kingfisher House, Market Square, Crewkerne TA18 7LH
- you can email us at [email protected]
- you can contact us by telephone 01460 279279 – please ask to speak to a member of the Compliance Team
- you can tell the person who has conduct of your matter
We may ask you to confirm or update your marketing preferences if you instruct us to provide further services in the future, or if there are changes in the law, regulation, or the structure of our business.
Who will we share your information with?
Under our Code of Conduct, there are very strict rules about who we can share your information with and this will normally be limited to other people who are involved with your matter. Depending on what we are doing for you, this may include:
- medical experts
- other experts such as pensions advisors
- other professionals such as surveyors and accountants
- estate agents
- private investigators
- healthcare professionals, social and welfare organisations
- courts and tribunals
- HMRC, HM Land Registry and similar organisations
We may be subject to audit or quality checks by external organisations or regulators. Information from your file may therefore be made available in these circumstances. We will always aim to obtain a confidentiality agreement with the third party whenever practicable.
We may also disclose your information to debt collection agencies if you do not pay our bills.
Where you authorise us, we may also disclose your information to your family, associates or representatives.
How long will we keep your information for?
- we will keep your information throughout the period of time that we do work for you and afterwards for a period of at least 6 years as we are required to do by law.
- in some cases (for example, where we have prepared a will for you) we may retain your information for a longer period and we will advise you of this at the time.
- more information is set out in our data retention policy which is available on request from the Data Protection Officer.
Transfers of data to countries outside the UK
- we may from time to time transfer your personal data to a country outside of the EEA
- normally this will be necessary for the performance of your contract with us or for the exercise or defence of legal claims on your behalf
- sometimes we may transfer data for other reasons, but we will ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place at all times
- we shall ensure that all the information that you provide to us is kept secure using appropriate technical and organisational measures
- achieving and maintaining Lexcel and Conveyancing Quality Scheme Accreditations
- in the event of any personal data breach, we have in place procedures to ensure that the effects of such a breach are minimised and shall liaise with the ICO and with you as appropriate
- more information is available from the Data Protection Officer
What rights do you have?
You have various rights under the GDPR including, but not limited to the following:
- right to be informed
- right of access
- right to rectification
- right to erasure
- right to restriction of processing
- right to data portability
- right to object
- right concerning automated decision-making and profiling
Right of access
- you have a right to see the information we hold about you
- to access this, you need to provide a request in writing to our Data Protection Officer, together with satisfactory proof of identity
- we will usually process your request free of charge and within 30 days, however, we reserve the right to charge a reasonable administration fee and to extend the period of time by a further 2 months if the request is manifestly unfounded or vexatious and/or is very complex
Right to erasure
- you have a right to ask us to erase your personal data in certain cases
- we will deal with your request free of charge and within 30 days but reserve the right to refuse to erase information that we are required to retain by law or regulation, or that is required to pursue or defend legal claims
- to exercise your right to erasure, please contact our Data Protection Officer
Who can you complain to if you are unhappy about what we have done with your information?
If you are unhappy about how we are using your information, then initially you should contact the Data Protection Officer.
- in writing – our address is Kingfisher House, Market Square, Crewkerne, TA18 7LH
- by email [email protected]
- by telephone 01460 279279 – please ask to speak to a member of the Compliance Team
If your complaint remains unresolved then you can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office, details are available at www.ico.org.uk.
This notice is designed to help you understand what cookies are, how Stokes Partners LLP uses them and the choices you have as to their use.
What are cookies?
Cookies are small text files that are stored on your browser or the hard drive of your computer or other device when you visit the Site. This allows the Site to recognise you as a user either for the duration of your visit (using a ‘session cookie’) or for repeat visits (a ‘persistent cookie’). They are not harmful and do not contain any information such as your home address, date of birth or credit card details.
Broadly speaking cookies fall into four broad types:
- Strictly Necessary Cookies
These cookies are essential in helping you to move around our Site and use its features, such as accessing secure areas of the website. Without these cookies, services you have asked for, such as setting up an account cannot be provided. These cookies do not gather information about you that could be used for marketing or remembering where you’ve been on the internet.
- Analytical/Performance Cookies
In order to keep the Site relevant, easy to use and up-to-date, we use web analytics services to help us understand how people use our Site. For example, we can see which parts of the Site and products are most popular, identify when errors occur, and test different versions of a page or feature to see which one works best.
- Functionality Cookies
These cookies allow websites and applications to remember choices you make (such as your user name, language or the region you are in) and provide enhanced, more personal features. The information these cookies collect is usually anonymised which means we can’t identify you personally. They do not gather any information about you that could be used for selling advertising or remembering where you’ve been on the internet, but do help us to serve you with advertising that is more relevant to you.
- Targeted Marketing Cookies
We do not use targeted marketing cookies currently.
If you would like more information on any of these types of Cookies, including how to opt-out, please visit www.youronlinechoices.com.
The cookie is used to improve your future visits to Stokes Partners LLP because it enables us to potentially provide you with information most relevant to you.
We understand that you may object to this and therefore do not insist that you enable your cookies and indeed the site works perfectly well without them.
To change your cookie settings, or if you want to be notified each time a cookie is about to be used, you should amend the settings provided in your web browser to prevent us from storing cookies on your computer hard drive.
For information on how to disable cookies, please consult the “Help” tab of your browser via the menu bar.
Are cookies safe?
Yes. The information stored in cookies is safe and anonymous to any external third party, and your account security is never compromised. You can find more information about cookies at http://www.allaboutcookies.org
This Cookie Notice was last updated on 16th May 2018, and further changes will be communicated by updating this notice.
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