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When should I complain to my service provider?

You should complain as soon as you are aware there is a problem - don’t leave it too long.

Problems are often sorted out more easily if they are dealt with early on.

Who do I complain to?

Complain to the person who handles complaints for your service provider. If you don’t know their name then mark your complaint for the attention of ‘The Complaints Handler’. If you have a complaint about a barrister, address it directly to him/her.

How do I make sure my service provider knows I am complaining?

It’s best to put your complaint in writing so that you can set out clearly what you are unhappy with. Write ‘complaint’ at the top of your letter or email. Keep a copy of this and all the replies you receive.

You may find it useful to use our example formal complaint letter to help you write your complaint, or for tips on what to say.

Make sure you tell your service provider everything that you are unhappy about because we can only look at complaints you have already made to them.

If you choose to make your complaint over the telephone or during a meeting, tell your service provider that you want to complain and ask them to record this on their file.

Make a note of the date, the issues you complained about, and who you spoke to. Ask for a written response.

If you haven’t heard from your service provider within seven days of making your complaint, contact them to make sure they have got it and that they are going to reply to you.

When can you bring a complaint to us?

Once you have made a complaint to your service provider, they have up to eight weeks to respond to you. If you aren’t happy with their final response, or they haven’t responded within the eight weeks, you can then ask us to look at it.

Generally, you can ask us to look at your complaint if you are referring your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within either:

  • Six years of the problem happening
  • Three years from when you found out about it (if it took place more than six years ago).

You need to bring your complaint to us within six months of your service provider’s final response. If your complaint does not meet these time limits we may not be able to investigate it. A final response is when the service provider has nothing further to say and tells you that if you are still unhappy you can contact the Legal Ombudsman.

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You can visit our privacy page to find out how we use your personal data. We comply with data protection rules at all times. You can contact our dedicated team at infosec@legalombudsman.org.uk for further information about this and any freedom of information requests.