We are located at:

Smith Dawson Solicitors

8 King Street

Wolverhampton

WV1 1ST

Contact us now:

Telephone: 01902 310007

 

24-hour emergency police station assistance: 07860 632220

 

E-mail:

criminal-department@smithdawson.com

 

family-department@smithdawson.com

 

 

 

      Our Client Care Policy

Smith Dawson Privacy Policy

 

Please read this Privacy Policy carefully as it contains information on who we are and also how and why we collect, store, use and share personal information.  It includes your rights in relation to your personal information and how to contact us and the relevant authorities in the event that you have a complaint.

 

Who we are

 

Smith Dawson Solicitors use and are responsible for certain personal information about you.  We are regulated by the General Data Protection Regulations. Frank Calleia is the person responsible for data protection.

 

The legal basis for processing information is that of contracted obligation as set out in Article 6 of the General Data Protection Regulations.  This requires at least one lawful bases for processing to be satisfied.

 

Information we collect and use

 

In acting for you we will collect personal information that you provide.  This may consist of name, address, phone number and email address.

 

How we use your personal information

 

We use the information simply in order to contact you and keep you informed as to progress on your matter.

 

Sharing your personal information

 

We will not share your personal information with anyone unless we are obliged by law to do so.  This will include providing information to the Legal Aid Agency, the National Taxing Team, our Accountants and the Solicitors Regulation Authority.  Each of those third parties have safeguards in place designed to ensure your privacy rights.

 

How long your personal information will be kept

 

We will hold your personal information for no longer than necessary.

 

Your rights

 

Under the General Data Protection Regulations you have a number of important rights which include:-

 

  1. Access to your personal information
  2. Require us to correct any mistakes in your information which we hold
  3. Require us to erase personal information concerning you in certain situations
  4. Object at any time to the processing of information concerning you for direct marketing

 

For further information please refer to the guidance from the UK Information Commissioners Office on individuals rights under the General Data Protection Regulations.

 

If you would like to exercise any of your rights then you must contact us with full details.

 

Our Privacy Policy confirms that your details will never be used for marketing.  We may occasionally contact you about services that we believe may benefit you.

 

Finally we confirm that we have appropriate security measures in place to prevent personal information from being accidentally lost or used or accessed in any unauthorised way.  Access to your personal information is limited to those who have a genuine business need to know it.  Those that process your information are subject to a duty of confidentiality.

 

If there are any suspected data security breaches involving your personal information you will be notified as will the Regulator where we are legally required to do so. 

 

Complaints procedure

 

Our complaints procedure is detailed in our client care letter

 

 

The terms under which we will act for you

(Please also read the accompanying pages on financing your case)

 

 

Who will look after your case

 

The partner with overall responsibility for the Family Department, and consequently your matter, is Andrew Brocklehurst.

 

The members of the Family Department are:

 

  • Andrew Brocklehurst – Partner, Solicitor
  • Mandip Sidhu – Supervisor, Solicitor
  • Harpreet Batth – Solicitor
  • Jennie Horney – Legal Assistant
  • Alexandra Simpson – Legal Assistant
  • Yvonne Walker – Secretary
  • Eboney Cherry – Secretary
  • Yvonne Bentley – Secretary

 

What you have instructed me to do

 

This is detailed either in my covering letter, or in the copy of the attendance note I made after our initial meeting which I am enclosing.   I have also confirmed the advice I have given you in my covering letter in the attendance note.

 

My commitment to you

 

I will:

  • Keep you regularly informed of the progress of your case
  • Communicate with you in plain language
  • Copy all documents and significant correspondence to you (significant correspondence would not include e.g. routine acknowledgement or chasing letters)
  • Explain the legal work which may be required
  • Advise you regularly regarding the costs of your matter and your chances of success
  • Keep you up to date on how much longer your matter is likely to take.

 

We would like to communicate with you by e-mail. We cannot guarantee that e-mails are secure or error free and it should be noted that such information could be intercepted, corrupted, lost or otherwise adversely affected or unsafe to use. We will use standard reasonable procedures to check for common viruses before sending information in this way.

 

We will have no liability to you in the event of any error or omission arising from or in connection with such e-mail communications. If you do not wish us to communicate with you in this way or are concerned about it, please discuss this with us and we will make appropriate alternative arrangements.

 

Hours of Business

 

Our office is open from 9.00am until 1.00pm and 2.00pm until 5.15pm on Monday to Friday.  We are closed on Bank Holidays.   We may also be closed for the period between Christmas and the New Year.

 

Equality and Diversity

 

This firm is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of its dealings with clients, third parties and employees.    You may contact us for a copy of our equality and diversity policy.

 

Provision of Service Regulation 2009

 

We comply with the above regulations by displaying the required details of our Professional Indemnity Insurance at our office

 

Money Laundering

 

The law now requires solicitors, as well as banks, building societies and others, to obtain satisfactory evidence of the identities of their clients wherever the solicitor may be required to deal with money on behalf of the client.   This includes payment of costs for those clients who do not have Public Funding (Legal Aid).   This is because solicitors who deal with money or property on behalf of their client can be used by criminals wishing to launder money.  If your matter will entail dealing with money or property I will have asked you to let me have two of the following documents

 

  • Current signed passport
  • Photo-card driving licence
  • Benefit book
  • Recent gas, electric or other household bill

 

in order to comply with the law on money laundering.    Please let me have those as soon as possible if I have asked you for them.

 

What if you are not happy with the way I am handling your matter?

 

I am attaching a document detailing our complaints procedure which is effective from 6 October 2010.

 

How long will my case take?

 

  • A straigthforward divorce - 4 months to 9 months including the 6 week wait between Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute
  • Cases involving a dispute over children - 2 months to 1 year from the date of an application to the court
  • Cases involivng care proceedings or certain other proceedings commenced by social services - These have to be finished within 30 to 80 weeks from the issue of the application by the court unless there is a good reason for delaying them beyond this. This does not mean that the case will take this long.
  • Cases involving disputes over matrimonial finances or other money or property - 2 months to 9 months from the date of an application to the court

 

How confidential is information which you give me?

 

Solicitors are under a professional and legal obligation to keep the affairs of their client confidential.   This obligation is, however, subject to a statutory exception:  recent money laundering and terrorist financing has placed solicitors under a legal duty in certain circumstances to disclose information to the National Criminal Intelligence Service.  Where a solicitor knows or suspects that a transaction on behalf of a client involves money laundering, the solicitor may be required to make a money laundering disclosure.   If, while we are acting for you, it becomes necessary to make a money laundering disclosure, we may not be able to inform you that a disclosure has been made or of the reasons for it because the law prohibits “tipping off”

 

Apart from that, everything you tell me is confidential.   However, as a solicitor, I have a duty to the court not to present any information which I know is false.  If you insisted that I present false information, I would not be under a duty to tell anyone about this but I would be under a duty to cease acting for you.

 

We also comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 in that any information we hold on you will be kept secure, will be kept accurate and up to date and will only be held for as long as we need to hold it.

 

How can our relationship be terminated?

 

You can terminate our instructions by a simple letter stating that this is what you want to do.    However if we are involved in court proceedings for you, it will be necessary for us to come off the court record before our duty to appear in court or comply with court orders ends.   This might take a little time as we have to notify the court and the other parties.  

 

If you have a Public Funding (Legal Aid) certificate and your matter is not finished but you wish to instruct alternative solicitors, it will be necessary to show that you have gone through the firm’s Complaints Procedure before the LAA will allow the transfer of your certificate to another firm.

 

We can terminate our relationship in the following circumstances:

 

  • If you do not have Public Funding and a bill we have sent to you remains unpaid for one month – I would warn you before terminating our retainer in those circumstances.
  • Where you fail to give reasonable instructions or take reasonable advice.
  • In circumstances where I feel the relationship between us has broken down.

 

How long will we keep your file?

 

After the conclusion of your case, we will keep our file of papers (except for any documents which you have asked to have returned to you) for no more than seven years.   We keep the file on the understanding that we have authority to destroy it seven years after our costs are paid.   We will not destroy any documents you ask us to keep safe for you.

 

Acceptance of these Terms and the Financial Information

 

Your continued instruction of this firm will amount to acceptance of our terms and conditions of business. 

 

 

COMPLAINTS

 

Our promise to you

 

We would like to think we never give anyone any cause for complaint. We recognise however that we are only human and problems can arise. We promise: -

 

  • we will always take any expression of dissatisfaction seriously;
  • we will always try and sort things out honestly and quickly;
  • we will always own up if we get things wrong;
  • we will always do our best to put things right

 

Should I say anything?

 

If anything bothers you, please let us know straight away. You can contact us in writing or by telephone or any other means that you are comfortable with.  Experience tells us that most problems are communication failures. They can usually be sorted out very easily. Always tell us if there is anything that you do not understand.

 

Note that this could include a complaint about our bill.

 

And if that does not work?

 

If we cannot resolve a problem informally we will deal with it as a complaint. This procedure is handled by Frank Calleia. If the complaint involves him, Andrew Brocklehurst will deal with it.

 

What is the procedure?

 

We will: -

 

  • acknowledge we have received your complaint within two working days and provide a timetable for dealing with your complaint;
  • investigate the matter thoroughly;
  • provide a written report on that investigation;
  • say whether we accept there is a justified complaint;
  • provide reasons if we do not;
  • say what remedial action we can take;
  • say if any other course of action seems appropriate e.g. referral to another solicitor;
  • invite you to come and discuss the matter personally.

 

The Legal Ombudsman

 

You are entitled to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.  They can be contacted at www.legalombudsman.org.uk or by calling 0300 555 0333.  Ordinarily a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman would be after going through our in-house procedure, although there are exceptions.

 

Time Limits

 

Ordinarily a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must be within six months of the date of our written response to you.

 

 

Our response will include:-

 

  • an explanation that the Legal Ombudsman is available if you remained dissatisfied;
  • full contact details of the Legal Ombudsman and a warning that your complaint must be referred to the Legal Ombudsman within six months

 

Ordinarily a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must be within:-

 

  • six years from the matter complained of; or
  • three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause to complain without taking advice from a third party;

whichever is later.

 

However, the Legal Ombudsman will not accept complaints where the act or date of awareness were before the 6th October 2010. The Legal Ombudsman may extend the time limit if he / she considers it fair.

 

Our bills

 

There is a right to object to our bill by applying to the court for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.

 

The Legal Ombudsman may not deal with a complaint about a bill if you have applied to the court for assessment of that bill.

 

If all or part of our bill remains unpaid we may be entitled to charge interest.

 

A copy of our complaint procedure is available on request.

 

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© Kay Brown (K.Brown@smithdawson.com)