Types of complaint

Complaints are generally about:

  • The conduct of your entity or the conduct of a person at your entity or
  • The service you provide to your clients

Breaches of the Code of Conduct (conduct complaints)

Conduct complaints about your entity, or the conduct of a person at your practice are investigated by CILEx Regulation. Conduct will be assessed against the CILEx Code of Conduct.  

If a complaint has been made about you as an individual lawyer please see the complaints about you section.

Conduct complaints about your entity may include providing legal advice when not authorised to do so, failing to comply with a court order, misappropriation of client money or failing to pay your entity’s professional indemnity insurance. 

CILEx Regulation cannot deal with complaints about the service you or someone at your entity provided. Those complaints are considered by the Legal Ombudsman (LeO). The LeO may refer matters to CILEx Regulation if it considers that the service complaint discloses conduct issues about your entity.

An outline of the investigation procedure followed by CILEx Regulation can be found here.  

Service complaints

Service complaints relate to the quality of the service your entity provides to clients. Service issues include allegations about delay, failure to keep your clients updated on progress of their cases, or their costs matters. 

All entities must have an in-house complaints handling procedure which you and your staff should provide to clients when first instructed or as soon as practicable. If a client has a complaint about the service you or someone at your entity has provided they must submit their complaint in accordance with your complaints procedure. They should do this before they contact the LeO. 

If you on behalf of your entity do not deal with the complaint or does so unsatisfactorily, the complainant can refer their service complaint to the LeO. You should provide the contact details of the LeO to your client at the same time as you provide information about your entity’s own complaints handling procedure.

CILEx Regulation has developed guidance for you on complaints handling which can be found here