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Complaints Procedure

Designated Complaints HandlerIf you have any concerns about our service, our work, or our charges, you should discuss these first with the individual who has day-to-day control of your matter. If this person cannot satisfactorily address your concerns and you wish to make a complaint, please contact our Designated Complaints Handler, Ian Winrow.

You can write to him at Ddol Helyg Cwm y Glo, Caernarfon, Gwynedd LL55 4DA or send an email to admin@winrowsolicitors.co.uk.

Step One: Acknowledging your Complaint

Within two working days of receiving your complaint, your complaint will be recorded in our Complaints Register and a separate file will be opened in which we will store any correspondence and other documents relating to your complaint. Within two working days we will also send you a letter acknowledging your complaint

Step Two: Investigating your Complaint

Within five working days of receiving your complaint, we will review your file(s) and any other relevant documentation and send you a letter telling you how we propose to deal with your complaint. Examples of what we might say in this letter are as follows:

If your complaint is straightforward, we might make suggestions as to how we can put things right or we may offer you some form of redress;

If your complaint is more complicated, we might ask you to confirm, explain or clarify any issues;

We may ask to meet with you to discuss things face-to-face and we would hope to be in a position to meet with you no longer than fourteen working days after first receiving your complaint. If you would prefer not to meet, or if we cannot arrange this within an agreeable timescale, we will write to you fully setting out our views on the situation and making suggestions as to how we can put things right, or asking you to confirm, explain or clarify any issues. Within three working days of any meeting, we will write to you again to confirm what took place and to confirm any offer of redress that we have made.

Whichever form our investigation takes, we will aim to give you our final decision within six weeks of receiving your complaint (or sooner if possible).

Step Three: Appealing Against our Final Decision

If you are not satisfied with our final decision, please let us know and we will review our decision again. We will let you know the result of any appeal within five working days of receiving your appeal.

Step Four: The Legal Ombudsman

The Legal Ombudsman can help you if we are unable to resolve your complaint ourselves. They will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your case. Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:

i. Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint, and

ii. No more than six years from the date of act/omission; or

iii. No more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.

If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, please visit: www.legalombudsman.org.uk

Ordinarily, you cannot use the Legal Ombudsman unless you have first attempted to resolve your complaint using our internal Complaints Handling procedure, but you will be able to contact the Legal Ombudsman if:

The complaint has not been resolved to your satisfaction within eight weeks of first making the compliant to us; or

The Legal Ombudsman decides that there are exceptional reasons why the Legal Ombudsman should consider your complaint sooner, or without you having to use our internal Complaints Handling Procedure first; or

The Legal Ombudsman considers that your complaint cannot be resolved using our internal Complaints Handling Procedure because the relationship between you and us has broken down irretrievably.

If you wish to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, you must be one of the following:

An individual;

A micro-enterprise as defined in European Recommendation 2003/361/EC of 6 May 2003 (broadly, an enterprise with fewer than 10 staff and a turnover or balance sheet value not exceeding €2 million);

A charity with an annual income less than £1 million;

A club, association or society with an annual income less than £1 million;

A trustee of a trust with a net asset value less than £1 million; or

A personal representative or the residuary beneficiaries of an estate where a person with a complaint died before referring it to the Legal Ombudsman.

If you are not, you should be aware that you can only obtain redress by using our Complaints Handling Procedure or by mediation or arbitration, or by taking action through the Courts.

If you wish to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, you can content them with the following details

Address: PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ

Telephone: 0300 555 0333

Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

Website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk

Complaining to the Solicitors Regulation Authority

The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help you if you are concerned about our behaviour. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic.

Address: Solicitors Regulation Authority, The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RN

Telephone: 0370 606 2555

Email: report@sra.org.uk

Website: www.sra.org.uk

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Where we are not able to settle your complaint using our internal complaints process, there are alternative complaints bodies (such as the Ombudsman Services www.ombudsman-services.org) which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme.

Please let us know if you would like to consider using an alternative complaints body to resolve your complaint.

Employee Information

VAT

We are not registered for VAT, so our charges currently do not include VAT; however, this may change during the course of the year. We will inform you as soon as the company becomes registered for VAT purposes.

Additional Costs

You may need to pay some additional costs, which are called disbursements. This includes Counsel (Barrister) Fees to prepare for and to represent you at an Employment Tribunal.

Counsel Fees can vary between £800 and £3,000 per day plus 20% VAT. The amount you pay will depend on the expertise of the Barrister and how long the hearing will last. Counsel fees will cost more if a more experienced barrister is needed for a more complicated case and hearings always last longer on more complicated cases.

Paying for your legal fees

In some cases, we will be prepared to act for you under a Damages-Based Agreement, which means that we would recover our legal fee from the damages (compensation) that you recover if you win your case.

Under a Damages-Based Agreement, we will deduct a proportion (limited to 35%) of your damages to reward us for the risk we assume in pursuing your claim under this type of agreement. This is because if your claim is not successful and you do not receive any compensation, and you have not agreed with us otherwise nor broken the terms of the Damages-Based Agreement, you will not have to pay our legal fees.

If you do break the terms of a Damages-Based Agreement, or if we decide to terminate the agreement, you will be required to pay our costs.

Please contact us if you would like to discuss funding your case on the basis of a Damages-Based Agreement.

Disbursements

Disbursements are costs payable to third parties, such as court fees or fees payable on the instruction of a barrister for advice or representation. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. In employment matters, there are no court fees to pay. Additionally, as Ian Winrow is a Solicitor Advocate, we often conduct our own representations, saving costs.

You will be fully advised on any disbursements which may be payable at the onset of your case and throughout.

Work included and key stages

The precise work and stages involved in bringing an unfair or wrongful dismissal claim vary according to the circumstances. However, we have set out the key stages involved in a typical claim:

Taking your initial instructions, reviewing the papers and advising you on merits and likely compensation.

Entering into pre-claim conciliation where this is mandatory to explore whether a settlement can be reached.

Preparing your claim.

Reviewing and advising on response from the other party.

Exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process.

Preparing a schedule of loss.

Exchanging documents with the other party and agreeing a bundle of documents.

Taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses.

Preparing bundle of documents.

Reviewing and advising on the other party’s witness statements.

Agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list.

Preparation and attendance at Final Hearing, including representation or instructions to Counsel.

Services excluded within this estimate price

Our service will not include any of the following:

Advice or assistance in relation to any appeal.

Approximate/ average timescales

The time that it takes from your initial instructions to the final resolution of your matter depends largely on the stage at which your case is resolved. If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation, your case is likely to take up to 6 weeks. This is because once we have put the referral in to ACAS, the respondent (your employer) will have one month to respond. If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take 6 – 9 months depending on the Court’s timetable. This is just an estimate and we will of course be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as your case progresses.

Factors that could increase costs

In some circumstances we may increase our fees to account for additional time, work or skill required to meet your instructions. Examples include:

If it is necessary to make applications to amend claims or provide further information about an existing claim.

If we make a costs application.

If there are complex preliminary issues.

The number of witnesses and documents.

If there are allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal.

Employer Information

VAT

We are not registered for VAT, so our charges currently do not include VAT; however, this may change during the course of the year. We will inform you as soon as the company becomes registered for VAT purposes.

Additional Costs

You may need to pay some additional costs, which are called disbursements. This includes Counsel (Barrister) Fees to prepare for and to represent you at an Employment Tribunal.

Counsel Fees can vary between £800 and £3,000 per day plus 20% VAT. The amount you pay will depend on the expertise of the Barrister and how long the hearing will last. Counsel fees will cost more if a more experienced barrister is needed for a more complicated case and hearings always last longer on more complicated cases.

Disbursements

Disbursements are costs payable to third parties, such as court fees or fees payable on the instruction of a barrister for advice or representation. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. In employment matters, there are no court fees to pay. Additionally, as Ian Winrow is a Solicitor Advocate, we often conduct our own representations, saving costs.

You will be fully advised on any disbursements which may be payable at the onset of your case and throughout.

Work included and key stages

The precise work and stages involved in defending an unfair or wrongful dismissal claim vary according to the circumstances. However, we have set out the key stages involved in a typical claim:

Taking your initial instructions, reviewing the papers and advising you on merits and likely compensation.

Entering into pre-claim conciliation where this is mandatory to explore whether a settlement can be reached.

Preparing your response.

Reviewing and advising on the claim from the other party.

Exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process.

Considering a schedule of loss.

Exchanging documents with the other party and agreeing a bundle of documents.

Taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses.

Preparing bundle of documents.

Reviewing and advising on the other party’s witness statements.

Agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list.

Preparation and attendance at Final Hearing, including representation or instructions to Counsel.

Services excluded

Our service will not include any of the following:

Advice or assistance in relation to any appeal.

Approximate/ average timescales

The time that it takes from your initial instructions to the final resolution of your matter depends largely on the stage at which your case is resolved. If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation, your case is likely to take up to 6 weeks. If the claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take 6 - 9 months. This is just an estimate and we will of course be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as your case progresses.

Factors that could increase costs

In some circumstances we may increase our fees to account for additional time, work or skill required to meet your instructions. Examples include:

If it is necessary to defend applications to amended claims or provide further information about an existing claim.

If we defend a costs application.

If there are complex preliminary issues.

The number of witnesses and documents.

If there are allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal.

Immigration Information

Fees payable for third parties

You may need to pay some additional costs, which are called disbursements. This could include Counsel (Barrister) Fees to prepare for and to represent you if a hearing is required.

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. Some examples of these disbursements are below. Although we do not charge VAT on our fees, disbursements are usually subject to VAT at 20%.

Application fee payable to the Home Office (these are not subject to VAT).

There is an application fee payable to the Home Office which will vary depending on the type of application being submitted. Please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visa-regulations-revised-table/2020 for further details about these fees and to determine the fee that may be applicable to your application.

If you have any trouble locating an applicable fee, please contact us and we will help you to find it.

We will of course also confirm any application fee payable once we have details of your matter.

Immigration Healthcare Surcharge See https://www.gov.uk/healthcare-immigration-application

Translation Services

It is common for supporting evidence to be in the form of documents which are not written in English. In these cases, a UK certified translation is required. The cost for this varies, but can usually be between £30 - £60 plus VAT per page, or £50 plus VAT per 150 words. However, this can vary drastically depending on the language and document. Before committing you to anything, we will always obtain quotes from at least 3 providers for your approval.

Work included and key stages

The precise work and stages involved in an immigration application will vary according to the circumstances. However, we have set out the key stages involved in a typical application:

Discussing your circumstances in detail and confirming whether this is the most appropriate application for you to make and what other applications may be available to you.

Giving you advice about the requirements of the Immigration Rules and whether you meet the criteria.

If you do not meet the criteria, whether this can be overcome and how.

Considering the supporting evidence you have provided.

Where necessary, helping you to obtain further evidence (such as medical records and bank statements), including taking statements of any witnesses.

Preparing your application and submitting it on your behalf.

If the Home Office asks you to attend an interview, we will give you clear advice and discuss the possibility of us attending with you.

Giving you advice about the outcome of the application and any further steps you need to take.

Services excluded

Our service will not include any of the following:

Where the Home Office refuses your application, advice and assistance in relation to any appeal.

Approximate/ average timescales

We cannot guarantee how long the Home Office will take to process your application. In our experience it can take them up to 6 months and sometimes longer. Please read the current processing times here: https://www.gov.uk/visa-processing-times

We will normally be able to submit an application within 2 weeks once we have received all of the documentation that we have requested from you.

In some circumstances, there may be increased fees to pay to account for additional time, work or skill required to meet your instructions. Examples include:

The length of time that an interpreter needs to spend on your case if it is complex.

If independent expert reports are needed to support your case e.g. medical reports.

If there is an interview with the Home Office and we attend with you, there will be additional charges to cover our travel expenses.

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