Complaints Handling Toolkit: The Law Society's Risk and Compliance Service
Publisher: Law Society Publishing
Authors: Vicky Ling & Fiona Westwood
Edition: 1st Edition (October 2014)
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For any solicitor, complaints will be inevitable. However, the real test is how those complaints are dealt with and (where appropriate) resolved. There are many surveys which say how many people a dissatisfied customer will tell and how many (usually fewer) a happy customer will tell. The key is therefore resolving any issues promptly, fairly and in accordance with the Solicitors' Regulation Authority's Code of Conduct. To help solicitors do that is Complaints Handling Toolkit: The Law Society's Risk and Compliance Service. This is a worthwhile addition to any firm's (particularly a smaller firm's) library.
Written by Vicky Ling and Fiona Westwood, Complaints Handling Toolkit: The Law Society's Risk and Compliance Service is split into seven chapters: introduction; regulatory requirements; client care; training; complaints handling; recording and reporting complaints; and sources of guidance and support. It is, however, nowhere near a tome as it covers just under 100 pages (including a number of precedents; these are also included on a CD-ROM which is included in the text).
The approach of Complaints Handling Toolkit: The Law Society's Risk and Compliance Service is to be both succinct and practical. While much of the text can broadly be described as common sense (better management and supervision of an instruction being just one example of a way to avoid complaints), it is very useful to have all of the information in one place. The case studies, which are based on real-life examples, also provide a useful indicator of potential solutions (but seem to be predominantly geared towards private clients rather than commercial clients).
If you are dealing with complaints made against a firm of solicitors, Complaints Handling Toolkit: The Law Society's Risk and Compliance Service is a useful (but probably not essential) resource. It is probably more helpful for smaller firms which may not have the time and resources to invest into developing compliant procedures and policies. For those larger firms, it content provides a useful overview. Any firm is likely, however, to benefit from having a one-stop resource of materials specifically looking at complaint handling in a solicitors' firm.
Reviewed on 8 February 2015
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