Family law a guide for legal consumers

Save this PDF as:
 WORD  PNG  TXT  JPG

Size: px
Start display at page:

Download "Family law a guide for legal consumers"

Transcription

1 Family law a guide for legal consumers Image Credit - Jim Harper A relationship breakdown is a difficult time for anyone. It is one of the most stressful experiences in life. Where you have to involve a solicitor, especially if you have never had to use a solicitor before, this can add to the list of things you may find difficult to deal with. We have prepared this guide to help consumers who are looking for legal help on a family law matter get the best service from their solicitor. Scottish Legal Complaints Commission Family Law a guide for legal consumers 1

2 We have carried out research which shows that in Scotland one in five complaints made about solicitors is about family-related work. Although time may be tight particularly in child residence cases, for example taking time to choose a solicitor carefully, and making sure that you are clear about what you can expect from your solicitor from the beginning, can help to make the process as stress free as possible. Scottish Legal Complaints Commission Family Law a guide for legal consumers 2

3 Family law top tips In this guide we suggest that there are ten simple things to consider that can reduce the likelihood of you complaining about your solicitor and help ensure that your expectations are met. If you have civil legal aid or advice and assistance, the situation may be slightly different. For that reason we have included a separate section which deals with that. Be clear from the start about the outcome you want and ask if this is achievable Prepare for the first meeting with your solicitor Ask about likely costs Get an idea of how long the process might take Understand how your solicitor will communicate with you Ask questions if you feel there is something you don t fully understand Be open and truthful Understand what to expect if the matter goes to court Be clear about the benefits and restrictions of legal aid Remember that you have the right to challenge or complain In the rest of this guide, we look at each of these in more detail. Scottish Legal Complaints Commission Family Law a guide for legal consumers 3

4 1. What outcome do you want? Even before you see a solicitor for the first time, it is a good idea to think about what you want. Think about what you want in advance Consider what you might be able to agree on Choose a solicitor who s right for you Sometimes, for justifiable reasons, we can feel aggrieved, angry, betrayed when a relationship breaks down. Understandably, we may feel that we want to retaliate, to have some form of revenge, to have our day in court. It is important to realise that the legal process in Scotland is very much focussed on solutions that avoid court. In matters of family law especially, the process is not there to decide who is to blame. Instead, the emphasis is on trying to get both sides to agree as much as possible. You can therefore expect to discuss various resolution options with your solicitor. For that reason, it is worth considering and if possible discussing with the other side what aspects can be agreed and what aspects are left unresolved. Sometimes, because emotions are running high, that won t be possible. However, remember that the more things need to be agreed through a legal process, the more expensive your solicitor s bill is likely to be. One thing to bear in mind, however, is that no matter how much you and the other side may be in agreement, the same solicitor will not be able to act for both of you due to a potential conflict of interest arising. When it comes to choosing a solicitor, it is important to take time to find a solicitor you feel comfortable with. It is a good idea to ask friends or relatives who may have gone through similar situations for a recommendation, although it is important that the solicitor you choose is someone that you feel at ease with. Remember that while your solicitor will be your adviser and legal representative, they are not your friend. You may find that they will question what you want to do and suggest a different way of approaching things. This can feel challenging and upsetting but remember that they are only doing this to give you their best professional advice which, after all, is what you are paying them for. Scottish Legal Complaints Commission Family Law a guide for legal consumers 4

5 It is also worth bearing in mind that if you do not get the exact outcome you want this does not necessarily mean that your solicitor has given an inadequate service or has shown poor conduct. Your solicitor will be entitled to charge you for the work done on your behalf regardless of the outcome. 2. The first meeting with a solicitor It is important to have a clear idea in advance of what might be covered at your first meeting with a solicitor. Where possible, prepare for this in advance. Come prepared your solicitor might need lots of information There may be a fee for the first meeting - check The solicitor can choose not to work for you and you can choose a different solicitor One key thing to bear in mind is that you are unlikely to get an instant solution or outcome from a single meeting with a solicitor. However, the solicitor will use that first meeting to gather information in order to map the way forward which is best for you. The first meeting is likely to last about an hour or so, depending on your circumstances. While some solicitors offer an initial free meeting to discuss the work in general most don t, and quite commonly the solicitor will charge a fixed price for the first meeting. Don t assume that the meeting is free but check whether you will be charged for it. If you think you may be eligible for legal aid, you should ask if the practice does legal aid work, otherwise you may be charged for the meeting. At the first meeting the solicitor is likely to talk to you about: Your finances, including income/benefits and outgoings Contact/residence arrangements for any children The financial support that you, a partner or children may be entitled to What capital you and your ex have including property ownership Separation and/or divorce-related issues It is important to think about these in advance and, where possible, take along any relevant documents. Scottish Legal Complaints Commission Family Law a guide for legal consumers 5

6 At the end of the first meeting, the solicitor may decide not to take on your case. This is something which they are entitled to do and can be for a variety of reasons they may already have a lot of other cases or they may feel that your case requires more expertise than they have. If that happens, ask if they can recommend someone else. On the other hand, you may feel that you do not want to engage that particular solicitor s services. You may decide that you would prefer to go away and reflect on things, or perhaps discuss things with your partner and try to resolve matters this way. Again, it is entirely reasonable for you to do this. Where you and the solicitor agree to work together, you should discuss the likely costs and timescales, which we cover in the next sections. 3. Costs Family law cases can be complex and unpredictable. For that reason, your solicitor will probably not be able to give you an exact figure for how much the work is going to cost. Costs can be unpredictable They will usually include time spent on s and calls and working on your case Ask for an indication of costs at the beginning and ask for updates if/when they go up If you think you may be entitled to legal aid and wish to explore that possibility, ask your solicitor about that. Remember, not all solicitors provide legal aid and it may mean that you have to go to a different solicitor who does. Section 9 of this guide covers some of the implications of legal aid in a bit more detail. Some distinct aspects of family law work can be covered by a fixed fee. However, it is more likely that your solicitor will charge you on an hourly rate that is, you will be charged for the time spent on your case in addition to any other sums which may need to be paid to other people for their services or to the courts. These are often referred to as outlays. This is an important point to bear in mind because this will include the time the solicitor spends dealing with you on the telephone even if you have telephoned them and time spent answering correspondence from the other side s solicitors. Scottish Legal Complaints Commission Family Law a guide for legal consumers 6

7 Even when not in direct contact with you, your solicitor will be progressing your case. Again, you will be expected to pay for that time, even although it may be invisible to you. For these reasons it is important to ask at the beginning for an indication of the likely costs. However, remember that, at best, this is only going to be an indication or an estimate and not a quote. The work your solicitor will have to do will depend on aspects which are unknown for example, the amount of work may depend on how the other side deals with matters or whether the case goes to court. There are, however, ways to help you keep an eye on costs. Depending on how you manage your day-to-day finances, it may be easier for you to pay by instalments as your case progresses rather than pay the full bill at the end. If that is the case you should discuss with your solicitor whether the firm has the option to pay what are called interim fees which can be arranged at intervals (perhaps every couple of months) to suit you. Another way of managing costs is to agree an initial limit at the start and ask your solicitor to let you know when that agreed amount has been, or better still is about to be, reached. However you agree to meet the costs of the case, it is important to make sure that if costs do increase beyond any amount you have been told, your solicitor lets you know as quickly as possible. If you agree to receive interim accounts and you do not receive one, it is your responsibility to ask for an update. If you keep an eye on costs, by asking for updates, this will make it easier for you to budget. If your case is being funded by someone else, perhaps a relative or friend, this is also a good idea so that you can keep them informed. Sometimes the way that items in your account will be described may seem unusual and you may find terms that you are not familiar with. If there is something in your bill which you don t understand or are not sure about, ask. And a final point on costs, remember to keep your solicitor up-to-date with any changes in your financial position including changes to any benefits you may be getting. This includes if you start to live with someone else as their income and contribution to your household expenditure may be something which will need to be taken into account. Scottish Legal Complaints Commission Family Law a guide for legal consumers 7

8 4. Timescales The time it will take to deal with your case can vary considerably. Get an idea of timescales at the start, but be aware they can change Agree how you want to receive updates and how often Some timescales will be outside your solicitor s control Most obviously, timescales can be affected by the complexity of your case. For example, if there are children involved, or if there is income, property or other capital which requires to be agreed, this may mean that your case will take longer to resolve. Your solicitor should be able to give a rough indication, from their experience, of the time a case like yours is likely to take. However, to a certain extent, this may be outwith their control and, for example, will be impacted by how quickly, or slowly, the other side and their solicitor deal with matters. It is also worth remembering that although you may have agreed things with the other side at the start, and your case may now seem straightforward, people can change their mind. Again, it is important to recognise that this is something which will be outside the control of your solicitor and may have an impact on the time it takes for your case to be brought to an end. It is worth agreeing with your solicitor, at the start, how frequently you can expect to receive updates on how your case is progressing. This can help you set in your own mind how matters are advancing and avoid you making unnecessary requests for updates and cut down on your costs! Where you have been given an estimate of how long things might take, it is worth asking your solicitor to let you know as soon as possible if, or when, that estimated timescale shifts. If you need to go to court, timescales will be set by the court process. While your solicitor may be able to ask the court for more time, or for dates to be changed, to some degree the process will be out of your solicitor s control. We cover that in more detail at Section 8. Scottish Legal Complaints Commission Family Law a guide for legal consumers 8

9 5. Communication Most of the complaints which come to the SLCC are about poor or inadequate communication. Agree who to contact if your solicitor is unavailable Remember communication is a two-way street You may not always get an immediate reply As we said in section 2, it is useful to agree with your solicitor from the start how frequently you can expect updates, and agree how you would like to receive these for example, by , letter, telephone or face-to-face meetings. While this will cover regular updates, there may be situations where you feel you need to contact your solicitor in addition to the arrangements you have agreed. For example, this could be because you have become aware of an unexpected development in the case or of some action or comment made by the other side. Where emotions are running high, it can seem the most natural thing to pick up the phone or your solicitor for an instant response. In family law matters in particular, where sensitivities are heightened, things which at other times might feel unimportant can appear more significant. Before contacting your solicitor, and bearing in mind that will be charged for their time, it is worth considering whether the matter is significantly urgent or whether it can wait until your next regular or planned contact with your solicitor. Where you do decide that you need to get in touch with your solicitor, may be a good way to contact them. This can make communications quicker. However, remember that your solicitor is likely to be dealing with other (sometimes many other) cases apart from your own and you should not expect an immediate response. This also applies to returning telephone calls. Bearing this in mind, it is also useful to ask your solicitor who you should contact if something urgent does come up and your solicitor is unavailable. A final point to make here is to remember that communication is a two-way street, and in family law cases this is especially important. At the beginning of your case you will have provided your solicitor with a lot of information about your circumstances. Your solicitor will be working on your case based on that information. It is very important that you let them know as soon as anything changes this could be a change to your income or employment status, living arrangements, a change in the family make-up or, more simply, a new mobile number or other contact details. Scottish Legal Complaints Commission Family Law a guide for legal consumers 9

10 If your solicitor asks you for information you should always try to provide this in good time to prevent delays. 6. Ask if you don t understand The legal system is complex and is not always easy to understand. Don t be afraid to ask if you don t understand Try to take notes of important information Consider asking for a summary in writing from the solicitor When faced with a situation which affects the most important parts of our world a relationship, home, children and there are often additional feelings of distrust, upset and perhaps betrayal, it is hardly surprising that you may not be in the best place to understand all that your solicitor is telling you. Your solicitor will appreciate that and should take time to explain things as clearly as possible. Your solicitor may use legal terms that you don t understand. Many people feel uncomfortable asking for explanations as they don t want to appear silly or stupid. However, it is easy for your solicitor, who is familiar with the process, to forget that it may all be new to you. So don t be afraid to ask what they mean.and if it is still not clear, ask again! Most solicitors welcome questions and, by making sure that you understand, that may avoid problems in the future. Sometimes your solicitor may have to give you a lot of information at one time. It is understandable that, with everything else that is going on in your life, you can t necessarily take it all in. It is a good idea therefore to take notes so that you can read them in your own time and take the information in at your own pace. You may also want to consider bringing someone along with you to the meeting to take notes for you, or to translate information if your first language is not English. Solicitors often have leaflets with useful information which you can take away with you, so it is worth asking about that if you find that something is particularly difficult to understand. You can always ask your solicitor to confirm the main points in writing but remember that you may be charged for that. Scottish Legal Complaints Commission Family Law a guide for legal consumers 10

11 7. Be open and truthful We said earlier on that you shouldn t think of your solicitor as your friend. A better way of thinking of them is as a trusted adviser who will do their best on your behalf. Make sure you are honest with your solicitor about your circumstances If things change, let them know Your solicitor has a duty to keep your personal information confidential In family law situations, your solicitor has to be someone you can trust with personal, and often painful, information. Relationship breakdowns are intensely private, and the details which need to be discussed, and the questions you may be asked, can feel uncomfortable and intrusive. Your solicitor will be sensitive and supportive, and has a duty to keep any personal information which you tell them confidential. It is important that your solicitor has complete knowledge of all the circumstances of your case, and there may be details which you may not think are important but can be significant in terms of how the work will be approached. For that reason it is important that you have a solicitor with whom you can be completely open. And it is important that you are completely open. One of the key areas which is likely to be discussed at the start is your financial position. It is very important that you are completely open about this to your solicitor even about finances the other side may not know about. As part of the process, either party can call on the other side to make a full disclosure. This is legally binding. If, at a later date, it is discovered that you were not totally open from the beginning, this can have an adverse effect on your case. This also applies to any experts or other people who may be instructed to act in your case this could include social services or those involved in the court or children s hearing process. If it is later discovered that, at any point in the process you have not been truthful, your solicitor may stop acting for you. Scottish Legal Complaints Commission Family Law a guide for legal consumers 11

12 8. If it goes to court In most cases, your solicitor will work hard to agree matters with the other side so that your case does not have to go to court. This may include using options such as family mediation or by entering a formal agreement with the other side. However, in some cases court is unavoidable and, if this happens to you, there are some things you should bear in mind. If it goes to court, it s not all in your solicitor s control There are alternatives to court proceedings available at all stages Your solicitor should behave in a civil and professional way in court The most important thing to know is that once the case goes to court it is very largely out of the control of your solicitor. The process, including the speed with which things will progress, will be decided by the court. Increasingly, the courts are trying to resolve cases to prevent lengthy court actions and you may find that you are asked to take part in formal mediation. This will involve an independent and impartial mediator and can often be a good and less costly way to resolve matters on which there is disagreement When a case goes before a court this is called a hearing. There are various types of hearing and for some of these it will not be necessary for you to attend the court for example, if the hearing is to agree how the case, or an aspect of the case, will be dealt with. Where a hearing is set to deal with evidence, details about the case will be heard from both sides to allow the person chairing the hearing often a Sheriff to make a decision. You may be required not only to attend but also to answer questions which are put to you. There may be times when your own solicitor is not able to attend court in person because of other work. This is quite normal and you shouldn t be surprised if another solicitor usually from the same firm turns up at court to represent you. The solicitor will have been given enough information about your case to deal with the hearing. Scottish Legal Complaints Commission Family Law a guide for legal consumers 12

13 The other important point to note is that if your case goes to court your case will cost more. The court will decide how many hearings your case will have and what will be required each time. You will have to pay for the cost of your solicitor s time at court, travel time to and from the court, and also for the work they need to do before each hearing. Other costs may arise from the court process. If there are children of the relationship, for example, the court may decide that a report into the welfare of the children is needed. The court may ask for a report from a psychiatrist or psychologist. You are likely to have to pay for these reports. Depending on the result of the court case, you may find that you not only have to pay for your own solicitor s work but also the expenses of the other side s solicitor and/or their court costs. A final thing to bear in mind is that no matter how acrimonious matters are between you and the other side, this will not be reflected in the court process. Sometimes it can appear strange to see your solicitor being civil, even friendly, towards the solicitor who is acting for the other side, particularly if there is strong disagreement between you and your ex. It can feel that your solicitor is somehow being disloyal and is no longer on your side. However, when solicitors appear in court they will always behave in a professional and civil manner towards each other and it does not mean that they are no longer acting in your best interest. Scottish Legal Complaints Commission Family Law a guide for legal consumers 13

14 9. Legal aid As we said in the introduction, where you have legal aid there may be differences in what you can expect from your solicitor. Legal aid normally isn t free; it s more like a loan The Scottish Legal Aid Board will be in control of the work your solicitor can do They will expect you to conduct yourself in a certain way It is worth noting that there is a difference between civil legal aid on the one hand, and legal advice and assistance on the other. Your solicitor should explain to you what the differences are between these and which one you may be entitled to. The most important thing to realise is that the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) will be largely in control of the work which your solicitor can do on your case. Your solicitor will only be paid for work which SLAB considers is necessary to progress your case. In that sense, therefore, your solicitor is less in control of how much work can be done and may not be able to do what you ask them to do. For example, SLAB will only pay for letters which it considers are necessary to take your case forward. As your case progresses, your solicitor may also have to ask SLAB for permission to take the next step. This can result in your case being delayed while approval is requested from SLAB and will be outside your solicitor s control. Your solicitor also has certain duties to SLAB. For example, if you ask for work to be done which is thought to be unreasonable, or if your solicitor discovers that you were not completely open about your financial circumstances, they must report that to SLAB. This can result in your legal aid being withdrawn and you having to repay SLAB the costs of your case. Where there has been dishonesty, SLAB may refer this to the police. Another point to bear in mind is that although many people tend to think of legal aid as a free service, this is not generally the case. Legal aid is more like a loan to help pay your costs. If you do qualify for legal aid, you may have to pay a monthly contribution. It is important that you keep making the monthly payments. If these stop, legal aid may be withdrawn and your solicitor will either have to stop working on your case or charge you privately. Private fees will be more expensive than the fees that can be charged to SLAB. Scottish Legal Complaints Commission Family Law a guide for legal consumers 14

15 It is also important to note that, at the end of your case, SLAB may expect further money from you to pay any balance which is owed to them. This is referred to as clawback and you should check with your solicitor whether this applies to you. There is also helpful information available from SLAB which explains this in more detail. This can be found at or you can call the legal aid information line Scottish Legal Complaints Commission Family Law a guide for legal consumers 15

16 10. You have the right to challenge or complain If you are unhappy with the service a solicitor has provided to you, or feel that a solicitor s conduct is unprofessional, it is important that you make your concerns known as soon as possible. If you have a complaint, speak to the firm first Allow them 28 days to respond Be aware of our time limits Ideally you should be able to speak or write to the solicitor to sort it out. If you don t want to do that, you can ask if the firm has a Client Relations Manager you can speak to or write to about the problem, so that it can be dealt with as quickly as possible. You need to allow the solicitor 28 days to deal with your complaint. If, after having done this, you are still not happy with the outcome, you have the right to make a formal complaint to us. Remember, however, that there are limits to the length of time you are allowed before you make your complaint to us and if your complaint is late we may not be able to accept it. Details of the timescales for making complaints are on our website or can be provided by calling our Enquires telephone number However, it is always better to make your complaint as soon as possible. For any advice about making a complaint, we are here to help. Our contact details are below. Scottish Legal Complaints Commission The Stamp Office Waterloo Place EDINBURGH EH1 3EG Tel Fax If you want to find out more about us and what we do, please visit We are open from 9am until 5pm, Monday to Friday, apart from Tuesday when we close for staff training between 10am and 11am. If you need information in another language or in large print or on audio CD, please get in touch. Publication Date: 20/03/2015 Scottish Legal Complaints Commission Family Law a guide for legal consumers 16

Dealing with an executry- a guide for legal consumers

Dealing with an executry- a guide for legal consumers Dealing with an executry- a guide for legal consumers The death of a loved one can be a deeply painful experience. During this emotional time many people struggle to deal with the paperwork and legal formalities.

More information

Buying or Selling your Home a guide for legal consumers

Buying or Selling your Home a guide for legal consumers Buying or Selling your Home a guide for legal consumers Buying or selling a house can be one of the most stressful, not to mention expensive, experiences we will ever have. While the vast majority of these

More information

Preventing complaints

Preventing complaints Preventing complaints We have already published best practice guidance for practitioners on how to handle complaints. However, we firmly believe in the principle that prevention is better than a cure.

More information

Ten questions to ask your lawyer about costs

Ten questions to ask your lawyer about costs Legal Ombudsman January 2014 Consumer Guide: Costs Ten questions to ask your lawyer about costs 1 The information in this leaflet is useful for anyone who is using, or thinking of using, a legal service.

More information

Ten questions to ask your lawyer about costs

Ten questions to ask your lawyer about costs Ten questions to ask your lawyer about costs www.legalombudsman.org.uk The information in this leaflet is useful for anyone who is using, or thinking of using, a legal service. This could be for a whole

More information

[5] Civil legal aid what you may have to pay

[5] Civil legal aid what you may have to pay [5] Civil legal aid what you may have to pay It s important that you understand, before your solicitor starts working for you, what you might have to pay. This leaflet explains: what you might have to

More information

Using a lawyer as you get older: Ten top tips

Using a lawyer as you get older: Ten top tips Using a lawyer as you get older: Ten top tips www.legalombudsman.org.uk The information in this leaflet is useful for anyone who is considering using a lawyer but it may be particularly useful for people

More information

Any individual whose lawyer is registered in England or Wales can use the Legal Ombudsman.

Any individual whose lawyer is registered in England or Wales can use the Legal Ombudsman. Complaint form Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806 Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ T 0300 555 0333 www.legalombudsman.org.uk What kind of legal complaints do we deal with? We can resolve complaints about the service provided

More information

Your guide to Using a solicitor

Your guide to Using a solicitor www.lawsociety.org.uk 1 Most of us need expert legal help at some time in our lives. Some of the most common issues are to do with buying a house, getting a divorce or making a will. But you might also

More information

Your health, your rights Feedback and complaints: how to have a say about your care and have any concerns and complaints dealt with

Your health, your rights Feedback and complaints: how to have a say about your care and have any concerns and complaints dealt with Your health, your rights Feedback : how to have a say about your care and have any concerns and complaints dealt with Who is this factsheet for and what is it about? This factsheet is for anyone who uses

More information

Finding and choosing a mediator

Finding and choosing a mediator Finding and choosing a mediator Thinking about mediation? This leaflet is for you if you ve heard about mediation and you re interested in trying it to resolve a dispute you are involved in. Or perhaps

More information

THE PUBLIC DEFENCE SOLICITORS OFFICE STANDARD TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT

THE PUBLIC DEFENCE SOLICITORS OFFICE STANDARD TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT THE PUBLIC DEFENCE SOLICITORS OFFICE STANDARD TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT CONTENTS 1. About the Public Defence Solicitors Office This section gives background information about our office and the rules we follow.

More information

Using a divorce lawyer: Ten helpful tips

Using a divorce lawyer: Ten helpful tips Using a divorce lawyer: Ten helpful tips www.legalombudsman.org.uk There are many things to think about when going through a divorce. It s likely to mean changes to who you live with, maybe where you live,

More information

Why use ADR? Pros & cons

Why use ADR? Pros & cons Why use ADR? Pros & cons Thinking about ADR? This leaflet is for you if you ve heard about alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and are wondering whether to use it to try and resolve a dispute. It will

More information

Make and register your lasting power of attorney a guide

Make and register your lasting power of attorney a guide LP12 Make and register your lasting power of attorney a guide Financial decisions including: running your bank and savings accounts making or selling investments paying your bills buying or selling your

More information

Feedback and complaints: how to have a say about your care and have any concerns and complaints dealt with

Feedback and complaints: how to have a say about your care and have any concerns and complaints dealt with Your health, your rights Feedback and complaints: how to have a say about your care and have any concerns and complaints dealt with Why has this factsheet been produced? This factsheet is for anyone who

More information

Making a Social Care Complaint

Making a Social Care Complaint Making a Social Care Complaint You have a right to make a complaint about local authority social services. You can do this by using the local authority social services complaints procedure. To use this

More information

Civil legal aid information for applicants

Civil legal aid information for applicants Civil legal aid information for applicants This leaflet covers both civil legal aid and advice and assistance Solicitors you must give this leaflet to clients before they complete a financial eligibility

More information

What to do if you re unhappy with the Child Maintenance Service. Help with complaints, disputes and appeals

What to do if you re unhappy with the Child Maintenance Service. Help with complaints, disputes and appeals What to do if you re unhappy with the Child Maintenance Service Help with complaints, disputes and appeals About this leaflet This leaflet explains what to do if you re unhappy with the service provided

More information

Complaints - what to do if you re not happy with a service

Complaints - what to do if you re not happy with a service IS 22 April 2009 Information sheet Complaints - what to do if you re not happy with a service Introduction... 1 Before you make a complaint... 2 Help with making your complaint... 2 How to make a complaint

More information

Clinical Negligence. Investigating Your Claim

Clinical Negligence. Investigating Your Claim www.lees.co.uk Clinical Negligence Investigating Your Claim Lees Solicitors LLP 44/45 Hamilton Square Birkenhead Wirral CH41 5AR Tel: 0151 647 9381 Fax: 0151 649 0124 e-mail: newclaim@lees.co.uk 1 The

More information

A step-by-step guide to making a complaint about health and social care

A step-by-step guide to making a complaint about health and social care A step-by-step guide to making a complaint about health and social care www.healthwatchhampshire.co.uk Step by step Page 3 Are you concerned about something that is happening now? Do you need to make a

More information

Raising Concerns or Complaints about NHS services

Raising Concerns or Complaints about NHS services Raising Concerns or Complaints about NHS services Raising concerns and complaints A step by step guide Raising concerns and complaints Questions to ask yourself: 1. What am I concerned or dissatisfied

More information

Feedback and complaints: how to have a say about your care and have any concerns and complaints dealt with

Feedback and complaints: how to have a say about your care and have any concerns and complaints dealt with Your health, your rights Feedback and complaints: how to have a say about your care and have any concerns and complaints dealt with Why has this factsheet been produced? This factsheet is for anyone who

More information

NHS Complaints Advocacy. A step by step guide to making a complaint about the NHS. www.pohwer.net

NHS Complaints Advocacy. A step by step guide to making a complaint about the NHS. www.pohwer.net NHS Complaints Advocacy A step by step guide to making a complaint about the NHS NHS Complaints Advocacy Important Information Please read this section before the rest of this guide to ensure you take

More information

How do I complain about the service I get from the Child Support Agency? Information and guidance

How do I complain about the service I get from the Child Support Agency? Information and guidance How do I complain about the service I get from the Child Support Agency? Information and guidance What is this leaflet about? This leaflet explains how you can make a complaint about the service you have

More information

About the Department for Work and Pensions. Our service standards

About the Department for Work and Pensions. Our service standards About the Department for Work and Pensions Our service standards 2 About the Department for Work and Pensions Contents 3 Introduction 3 Disability and Carers Service 4 Jobcentre Plus 4 The Pension Service

More information

Effective complaint handling

Effective complaint handling This guide sets out key information for state sector agencies about developing and operating an effective complaints process. It also provides information about the Ombudsman s role, as an independent,

More information

Statement of Purpose. Child Protection/Safeguarding Service

Statement of Purpose. Child Protection/Safeguarding Service Statement of Purpose Child Protection/Safeguarding Service 1. What we do Child Protection/Safeguarding is part of the South Eastern HSC Trust s Children s Services which provides services to ensure the

More information

Guide to Selling and Buying your Home

Guide to Selling and Buying your Home Guide to Selling and Buying your Home Selling and buying property can be one of the most stressful periods in anyone s life. So, what can you do to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible?

More information

CB7. Guide for separated parents: children and the family courts. Help with deciding what should happen with your children

CB7. Guide for separated parents: children and the family courts. Help with deciding what should happen with your children CB7 Guide for separated parents: children and the family courts Deciding what should happen to your children when you and your partner have split up can be difficult. You might not be able to agree who

More information

Information for birth parents about adoption. All About. Adoption

Information for birth parents about adoption. All About. Adoption Information for birth parents about adoption All About List of contents All About Page 2. Introduction 2. What is adoption? 2. When can a child be adopted? 3. Who is considered to be a parent in the adoption

More information

A guide to helping you move on. QualitySolicitors Mirza

A guide to helping you move on. QualitySolicitors Mirza A guide to helping you move on. QualitySolicitors Mirza 2 A guide to help you We understand just how stressful and upsetting ending a relationship can be. We re here to make things as simple and stress-free

More information

Making an application - children and the family courts

Making an application - children and the family courts CB1 Making an application - children and the family courts A How the court can help you Family Mediation Before you begin proceedings you may want to consider Mediation. In mediation, an impartial, trained

More information

CASH ISA SAVINGS CONDITIONS. For use from 2nd September 2016.

CASH ISA SAVINGS CONDITIONS. For use from 2nd September 2016. CASH ISA SAVINGS CONDITIONS. For use from 2nd September 2016. WELCOME TO HALIFAX This booklet explains how your Halifax savings account works, and includes its main conditions. This booklet contains: information

More information

Housing advice for homeless 16 and 17 year olds

Housing advice for homeless 16 and 17 year olds Housing advice for homeless 16 and 17 year olds 2 If you are 16 or 17 and are homeless, or have nowhere safe to stay then your local authority may have a duty to help you. This leaflet contains information

More information

Using a conveyancing lawyer: Ten helpful tips

Using a conveyancing lawyer: Ten helpful tips Using a conveyancing lawyer: Ten helpful tips www.legalombudsman.org.uk Buying a new home is a significant step in anyone s life. You might be moving with a new job, getting a bigger place for a new or

More information

Feedback and complaints:

Feedback and complaints: Your health, your rights Feedback and complaints: how to have a say about your care and have any concerns and complaints dealt with Feedback and complaints (version 1) Produced in October 2012 - Revision

More information

Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears. A Consumer Guide

Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears. A Consumer Guide Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears A Consumer Guide Introduction If you are having trouble paying your mortgage or think you may have trouble paying your mortgage in the near future, the Central Bank

More information

Taxes are dealt with and collected by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). There are different types of tax, which include those listed below.

Taxes are dealt with and collected by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). There are different types of tax, which include those listed below. Freephone 0800 197 6026 www.businessdebtline.org Income tax debt What this fact sheet covers This fact sheet tells you about how to deal with income tax arrears owed to HM & and Customs (HMRC). It explains

More information

London Borough of Enfield Fostering Service

London Borough of Enfield Fostering Service London Borough of Enfield Fostering Service Comments, Compliments & Complaints Procedure May 2008 Contents Introduction 3 Foster carers complaints about the fostering service 3 Complaints about the service

More information

Here to help sort out problems with your legal service provider

Here to help sort out problems with your legal service provider How do we sort out problems? Our job is to look at complaints about service providers in a fair way and without taking sides. If we think the service complained about was of a reasonable standard, we will

More information

The University of the Highlands and Islands Complaints Handling Procedure

The University of the Highlands and Islands Complaints Handling Procedure The University of the Highlands and Islands Complaints Handling Procedure The University of the Highlands and Islands Complaints Handling Procedure Foreword Our Complaints Handling Procedure reflects

More information

Victims of Crime. information leaflet. Working together for a safer Scotland

Victims of Crime. information leaflet. Working together for a safer Scotland Working together for a safer Scotland If you have been a victim of crime this leaflet is to help let you know about how to find support and help and to tell you about the criminal justice system. Support

More information

I want to apply for a Financial Order

I want to apply for a Financial Order I want to apply for a Financial Order D190 Introduction During or after a divorce/dissolution, the annulment of a marriage/civil partnership (nullity) or a (judicial) separation, there may still be a need

More information

WIN. Factoring Services News. Factoring Services News. Common repairs what happens! page 6. worth of vouchers

WIN. Factoring Services News. Factoring Services News. Common repairs what happens! page 6. worth of vouchers Factoring news for homeowners in mixed tenure blocks in East Renfrewshire www.eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk/housing Winter 2015 Factoring Services News Complete our customer satisfaction survey inside this edition

More information

Feedback and complaints: how to have a say about your care and have any concerns and complaints dealt with

Feedback and complaints: how to have a say about your care and have any concerns and complaints dealt with Your health, your rights Feedback and complaints: how to have a say about your care and have any concerns and complaints dealt with Why has this factsheet been produced? This factsheet is for anyone who

More information

Health and Social Care Department. A Guide to. Adult Social Care Services

Health and Social Care Department. A Guide to. Adult Social Care Services Health and Social Care Department A Guide to Adult Social Care Services photography: www.johnbirdsall.co.uk Contents Introduction 4 How can we help you? 6 Social Care Direct 7 I need an assessment. What

More information

the ombudsman and smaller businesses

the ombudsman and smaller businesses the ombudsman and smaller businesses your guide to the Financial Ombudsman Service the independent expert in settling complaints between consumers and businesses providing financial services about this

More information

Information about how to pay compliments, raise concerns or complain about services at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Information about how to pay compliments, raise concerns or complain about services at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Information about how to pay compliments, raise concerns or complain about services at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust This leaflet provides practical information on how you can provide

More information

Families with Children in Care

Families with Children in Care Families with Children in Care A guide to your rights if your child is in care Partnership with Families Project Family Advocacy Service support for families with children in care Handbook This guide for

More information

IL03: How to make a comment, complaint or compliment

IL03: How to make a comment, complaint or compliment April 2015 IL03: How to make a comment, complaint or compliment We welcome all your views. Comments We d like to hear from you if you have a suggestion on how we can improve our service. You can write

More information

Special services register

Special services register Electricity Special services register CODE OF PRACTICE BGE/RE/SCOP/0515 bordgaisenergy.ie If you need any further help or advice please contact us: Tel: 1850 632 632 Fax: 1850 22 22 52 elecinfo@bordgais.ie

More information

Conveyancing Guide. We welcome you as a client of Tyndallwoods and thank you for your instructions. Conveyancing has two basic stages

Conveyancing Guide. We welcome you as a client of Tyndallwoods and thank you for your instructions. Conveyancing has two basic stages Conveyancing Guide We welcome you as a client of Tyndallwoods and thank you for your instructions. This guide is part of the Tyndallwoods commitment to quality of service. We are well aware that moving

More information

I have a complaint about health care, what to do? Landelijk Meldpunt

I have a complaint about health care, what to do? Landelijk Meldpunt I have a complaint about health care, what to do? Landelijk Meldpunt Z0rg The National Health Care Report Centre can help! Sometimes your contact with a health care provider can fall short of your expectations.

More information

Making a complaint Information Guide

Making a complaint Information Guide Making a complaint Information Guide This guidance is to assist disabled people and / or their family members who feel they may have received a less favourable service (discrimination) due to their disability.

More information

Guide to Good Practice on Correspondence

Guide to Good Practice on Correspondence 2016 Guide to Good Practice on Correspondence This Guidance was revised in January 2016. The law or procedure may have changed since that time and members should check the up-to-date position. Guide to

More information

Occupational Therapy Services

Occupational Therapy Services Occupational Therapy Services May 2014 For a copy of this leaflet in braille, large print, CD or tape call 01352 803444. The Purpose of this leaflet This leaflet has been given to you to provide some basic

More information

Divorce and separation. Choosing the right process for you

Divorce and separation. Choosing the right process for you Divorce and separation Choosing the right process for you Divorce or separation is often a time of conflict and heartache. Having the right professional advice and support can make all the difference.

More information

Version 2016/01. Buying More Shares of Your Home

Version 2016/01. Buying More Shares of Your Home Version 2016/01 E Buying More Shares of Your Home This guide tells you how you can buy further shares in your shared ownership home. As a shared owner you have the right to buy all or part of your home

More information

LIFETIME MORTGAGE LUMP SUM

LIFETIME MORTGAGE LUMP SUM LIFETIME MORTGAGE LUMP SUM Terms and Conditions (version 5) This is an important document. Please keep it in a safe place. LV= Lifetime Mortgage lump sum Terms and Conditions Welcome to LV=, and thank

More information

Giving feedback or making a complaint. about the NHS. Giving feedback about the NHS. Making a complaint. about the NHS. How can I give my feedback?

Giving feedback or making a complaint. about the NHS. Giving feedback about the NHS. Making a complaint. about the NHS. How can I give my feedback? Giving feedback or making a complaint about the NHS In the NHS in Scotland, we try to give you the best possible care and treatment. You can help us improve services by giving your views, good as well

More information

Clydebank Housing Association Ltd. Factoring Complaints Handling Procedure

Clydebank Housing Association Ltd. Factoring Complaints Handling Procedure Clydebank Housing Association Ltd. Factoring Complaints Handling Procedure Management Committee submission: 27 November 2012 Approved: 27 November 2012 Review date: November 2015 This policy can be made

More information

Guide to Divorce and Separation

Guide to Divorce and Separation Family Law Web Guide A guide by Guillaumes Solicitors Introduction The breakdown of a relationship can be a difficult and challenging time. The pressure and anxiety of splitting up, applying for divorce,

More information

Online Banking, Bill Pay, and E-Statements

Online Banking, Bill Pay, and E-Statements Online Banking, Bill Pay, and E-Statements ERROR RESOLUTION NOTICE In case of errors or questions about your electronic transfers, call or write us at the telephone number or address listed in this brochure,

More information

Treating Customers Fairly. October 2015

Treating Customers Fairly. October 2015 Treating Customers Fairly October 2015 Our promise to treat you fairly At SSE we are committed to giving excellent service and treating customers fairly. Our 2015 Treating Customers Fairly Statement sets

More information

Know. Your. Rights. Understanding. grievances. www.worksmart.org.uk. and disciplinaries

Know. Your. Rights. Understanding. grievances. www.worksmart.org.uk. and disciplinaries Understanding Know Your Rights www.worksmart.org.uk grievances and disciplinaries Introduction Whatever job you do, you can run into problems at work. Sometimes these can be sorted out quickly by informal

More information

Helping you find and get on in work

Helping you find and get on in work welcome guide CONTENTS Introduction What Universal Credit is, and what you ll need to do to claim it. This section tells you what you ll get if you re doing all you can to find work, and what will happen

More information

Essex County Council Complaints, Comments and Compliments Policy

Essex County Council Complaints, Comments and Compliments Policy Essex County Council Complaints, Comments and Compliments Policy We want to hear about your experiences of our services. Complaints, compliments and feedback can help us improve the services we provide

More information

Information guide. How to make a complaint

Information guide. How to make a complaint Information guide How to make a complaint How you can comment, compliment or complain about your treatment or service We are committed to providing you with the best service possible. We are always looking

More information

EX325. Third party debt orders and charging orders. How do I apply for an order? How do I respond to an order? Before applying for an order

EX325. Third party debt orders and charging orders. How do I apply for an order? How do I respond to an order? Before applying for an order EX325 Third party debt orders and charging orders How do I apply for an order? How do I respond to an order? This leaflet provides information for both creditors seeking to recover money by a Third Party

More information

Information in relation to Legal Charges

Information in relation to Legal Charges Information in relation to Legal Charges This leaflet is for solicitors to give to their clients. By law, your solicitor must give you information about your legal charges the money you must pay them for

More information

Guide to buying your own home

Guide to buying your own home Guide to buying your own home Guide to buying your own home Buying a new home is long and complex process for anyone, whether they are first-time buyers or seasoned homeowners. From searching for a dream

More information

Making a Complaint about the NHS

Making a Complaint about the NHS Making a Complaint about the NHS Version 3 Produced in June 2009 Revision date June 2011 In the NHS in Scotland, we try to give you the best possible care and treatment. We value comments, good or bad,

More information

Community Care Services Occupational Therapy

Community Care Services Occupational Therapy Community Care Services Occupational Therapy Background Adult Social Care Departments across the Country have a duty to work out the care needs of people who may benefit from Community Care Services. If

More information

Making a complaint in the independent healthcare sector. A guide for patients

Making a complaint in the independent healthcare sector. A guide for patients Contents 1. Introduction pages 3 5 2. Local Resolution Stage One pages 6 8 3. Complaints Review Stage Two page 9 4. Independent External Adjudication Stage Three pages 10 11 2 The Patients Association

More information

MBNA customer questionnaire: credit card payment protection insurance

MBNA customer questionnaire: credit card payment protection insurance MBNA customer questionnaire: credit card payment protection insurance WHAT IS THIS QUESTIONNAIRE FOR? This questionnaire is for you to bring a complaint about the sale of payment protection insurance (PPI).

More information

Council accounts: A guide to your rights

Council accounts: A guide to your rights Council accounts: A guide to your rights This document is available on our website at: www.nao.org.uk/code-auditpractice/council-accounts-a-guideto-your-rights If you have any enquiries regarding this

More information

Family Law - Divorce FAQ

Family Law - Divorce FAQ Family Law - Divorce FAQ We have only been married a short time when can I start a divorce? You cannot start a divorce until you have been married for at least 12 months and you must show that the marriage

More information

approaching your birth parents issues and options to consider

approaching your birth parents issues and options to consider CYF043 April 2005 approaching your birth parents issues and options to consider INTRODUCTION 01 COMMON ISSUES 02 THE IMPORTANCE OF RESPECTING YOUR BIRTH PARENTS PRIVACY 09 MAKING CONTACT 10 WAYS OF MAKING

More information

2013 All Rights Reserved. Paper Cat. No.: HS4-118/2013 ISBN: PDF Cat. No.: HS4-118/2013E-PDF ISBN:

2013 All Rights Reserved. Paper Cat. No.: HS4-118/2013 ISBN: PDF Cat. No.: HS4-118/2013E-PDF ISBN: This document has been jointly prepared by the Forum of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for Seniors. The Forum is an intergovernmental body established to share information, discuss

More information

Choosing a Care Home working with you

Choosing a Care Home working with you Social Work Services Choosing a Care Home working with you Published: March 2013 2 Moving into a Care Home The Social Work Service recognises that the decision to move into a care home is an important

More information

Fostering for Adoption BECOMING A CARER

Fostering for Adoption BECOMING A CARER Fostering for Adoption BECOMING A CARER Funded by the Department for Education Children need a loving and secure home that they experience as their forever family. Fostering for Adoption a child centred

More information

Raising Concerns or Complaints about NHS services

Raising Concerns or Complaints about NHS services Raising Concerns or Complaints about NHS services Contents Page 4 Introduction How to use this pack How can NHS Complaints Advocacy Help? Page 5 Raising concerns and complaints First Steps Step 1 - What

More information

If you are not sure about any of these rights, tell the police custody officer

If you are not sure about any of these rights, tell the police custody officer Remember your rights whilst detained The rights in this Notice are guaranteed to you under the law in England and Wales and comply with EU Directive 2012/13 on the right to information in criminal proceedings.

More information

A guide to managing your own home care. Support to Live at Home.

A guide to managing your own home care. Support to Live at Home. A guide to managing your own home care. Support to Live at Home. 2 l l 3 Introduction: The Care Act 2014 has changed the way local authorities manage care. This leaflet will explain Suffolk County Council

More information

Divorce and separation. Choosing the right process for you

Divorce and separation. Choosing the right process for you Divorce and separation Choosing the right process for you Divorce, the dissolution of a civil partnership or separation can often cause conflict and heartache. Having the right professional advice and

More information

Appeals and grievances: what to do if you have complaints

Appeals and grievances: what to do if you have complaints Appeals and grievances: what to do if you have complaints What to do if you have complaints Introduction We encourage you to let us know right away if you have questions, concerns, or problems related

More information

Making a complaint about the NHS

Making a complaint about the NHS Lothian Making a complaint about the NHS In the NHS in Scotland, we try to give you the best possible care and treatment. We value comments, good or bad, to help us improve the service. If you are not

More information

Allegations in Foster Care A UK study of foster carers experiences of allegations

Allegations in Foster Care A UK study of foster carers experiences of allegations Allegations in Foster Care A UK study of foster carers experiences of allegations Vicki Swain October 2006-2 - Contents 1 Introduction 1.1 Previous research 2 Methodology 2.1 The sample 3 Findings 3.1

More information

Compliments, comments concerns and complaints

Compliments, comments concerns and complaints Compliments, comments concerns and complaints Introduction At Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust we work hard to deliver a first-class comprehensive health care service. We value the opinions of patients

More information

Parent Handbook. eci. early childhood intervention. Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services. Division for Early Childhood Intervention

Parent Handbook. eci. early childhood intervention. Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services. Division for Early Childhood Intervention Parent Handbook eci early childhood intervention Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services Division for Early Childhood Intervention Welcome to ECI! Texas Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) programs

More information

NHS Complaints Advocacy

NHS Complaints Advocacy NHS Complaints Advocacy Raising Concerns or Complaints About the NHS Advocacy in Surrey is provided by Surrey Disabled People s Partnership (SDPP) In partnership with SDPP is a registered Charity: 1156963

More information

The Court and your child:

The Court and your child: The Court and your child: when social workers get involved easy words and pictures The Court and your child when social workers get involved People These are the people who appear in the booklet. 2 3 Text

More information

nationalcarestandards

nationalcarestandards nationalcarestandards dignity privacy choice safety realising potential equality and diversity SCOTTISH EXECUTIVE Making it work together nationalcarestandards dignity privacy choice safety realising potential

More information

Making a complaint. The difference between making a complaint and clinical negligence

Making a complaint. The difference between making a complaint and clinical negligence Macmillan and Cancerbackup have merged. Together we provide free, high quality information for all. Making a complaint This fact sheet is for people who want to make a complaint because they re unhappy

More information

Adviceguide Advice that makes a difference

Adviceguide Advice that makes a difference Travel insurance Choosing travel insurance Travel insurance can provide you with cover for: cancelling or cutting short your trip for specific reasons outside your control, for example, the unexpected

More information

The Divorce Process. What to Expect. Cassandra P. Hicks

The Divorce Process. What to Expect. Cassandra P. Hicks The Divorce Process What to Expect By Cassandra P. Hicks It is impossible to cover what can happen in any given case so the following is an effort to explain in general terms the overall divorce process

More information

Making a complaint about the NHS

Making a complaint about the NHS Making a complaint about the NHS Version 2 Produced in June 2007 Revision date June 2009 NHS SCOTLAND In the NHS in Scotland, we try to give you the best possible care and treatment. We value comments,

More information