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ABELS Solicitors (“the Firm”) endeavours to ensure the accuracy of these web pages, but the content is intended for general information only. Nothing in these web pages constitutes legal advice and you should take qualified legal advice on any specific legal problem. ABELS Solicitors makes no warranties, representations or undertakings as to (but not restricted to) the quality, accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose of the content of this website.
The Firm is:
A partnership registered in England at 6 College Place, London Road, Southampton, SO15 2XL.
Registered for VAT purposes under number 188 6162 26;
Not authorised by the Financial Services Authority.
Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority No. 00045904 and the applicable professional rules are the SRA Standards and Regulations 2019, which can be viewed on their website. www.sra.org.uk
Covered by Professional Indemnity Insurance, details of which are displayed in our office.
The contents of the ABELS web site are owned exclusively by ABELS Solicitors. Reproduction of part or all of the content in any form is prohibited unless specific consent is obtained from the partners of the firm. None of the content of this web site may be copied or otherwise incorporated into or stored in any other web site, publication, electronic retrieval system, publication or other work in any form (whether hard copy, electronically or otherwise).
We want to give you the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service we provided or you have approached us to provide then you should inform us immediately, so that we can do our best to resolve the problem.
In the first instance it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your case to discuss your concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues at this stage .If you would like to make a formal complaint, then you can read our full complaints procedure below. Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case.
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.
You can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Please use the “Clickable” logo above to contact them.
What to do if we cannot resolve your complaint
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:
• Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint
• No more than six years from the date of act/omission; or
• 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 contact them.
Call: 0300 555 0333 between 9am to 5pm.
Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9W
(Revised December 2018)
We are committed to providing a high quality legal service to all our clients. When something goes wrong, we need you to tell us about it so that we can put it right as soon as possible. This will also help us to improve our standards generally.
If you have a complaint, we need to know about it at the earliest possible opportunity. Initially it is best if your complaint is raised with the fee earner dealing with the matter or with his or her Supervisor whose details will have been given to you in our client care letter. They will be familiar with your file and may well be able to resolve the problem to your satisfaction on a quick and informal basis.
If, however, the fee earner and the supervisor are unable to resolve the matter or you are not satisfied with their response, please write to us with details of your complaint. Your letter should be addressed to the Senior Partner Mr Humphris (if he is the person being complained about then address your letter to his colleague Mr Titt and in that case references to Mr Humphris in this document should be references to Mr Titt).
3. What will happen next?
(a) We will send you a letter acknowledging your complaint and asking for any further information or explanation that may be required. We will also let you know the name of the person who will be dealing with your complaint. You should expect to receive our letter within three working days of receiving your complaint.
(b) We will record your complaint in our central register and open a separate file for your complaint. This will be done within three working days of receiving the complaint.
(c) We will acknowledge any reply to our acknowledgement letter and let you know what will happen next. You can expect to hear from us within three working days of your reply.
We will then begin to investigate your complaint. This will normally involve the following steps: –
(i) Our Mr. Humphris who is the Partner responsible for handling complaints will immediately refer the matter to the fee earner who has been acting for you.
(ii) That fee earner will be asked to provide Mr. Humphris with his or her response to your complaint within five working days.
(iii) Mr. Humphris will then consider the fee earner’s response and if necessary speak to the fee earner concerned and examine your file. This will normally take no more than five working days, although in more complicated matters, it might take longer and if so we will let you know.
(iv) Mr. Humphris will then contact you either by telephone or by letter inviting you to call into the office to discuss and hopefully resolve your complaint. In the majority of cases such a meeting will be arranged within three weeks of receiving your initial letter.
(v) Within three working days of the meeting, Mr. Humphris will write to you to confirm what took place at the meeting together with confirmation of any solutions or agreements which were reached.
(vi) Where, for any reason, it is not possible to arrange a meeting with you, Mr. Humphris will write to you with his full response to your complaint and as appropriate will set out in that letter is proposals for resolving your complaint. You should receive Mr. Humphris’ written response not later than three weeks from receipt of your initial letter.
(a) If, at this stage, you are still not satisfied please write to us again and we will then arrange to review our decision. This review will be carried out by another Partner of this firm who was not involved in the original investigation of your complaint. You will be notified of his decision within ten working days of your letter.
(b) Following the conclusion of this or these reviews, we will write to you confirming our final decision on your complaint and explaining our reasons. We will do this within 8 weeks from when we receive your complaint.
(c) Whilst we will seek to ensure strict compliance with these timescales there may be exceptional circumstances meaning we over-run such as temporary absence of the Complaints partner or the fee-earner. However please be aware of the time limit below for bringing complaints to the Legal Ombudsman.
(a) If you are still not satisfied you can then contact the Legal Ombudsman at P.O. Box 6806 Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ about your complaint. We have up to eight weeks to issue a final response to your complaint. Any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within SIX MONTHS of the date of our final decision on your complaint or the expiry of the eight week period described above if we haven’t responded. However, the Legal Ombudsman can consider a complaint sooner or without going through our procedure first in exceptional circumstances or where there has been an irretrievable breakdown in our relationship. The Ombudsman can also extend this time limit in exceptional circumstances.
(b) Not everyone can complain to the Ombudsman and not everything can be complained about. Only if you are an individual, or a PR of such a person, a small business, an organisation with net income of under a £1 million, a charity or trustee of a trust with assets of less than £1 million can you use the service. Whilst only if your claim relates to something that happened after 5th October 2010 or you should have been aware of it then and it was less than 6 years ago (or 3 years ago from when you ought reasonably to have known of it) can the Ombudsman help unless he feels there are exceptional circumstances to extend such limits.
(c) for further information you should contact the Legal Ombudsman on 0300 555 0333 or by e-mail at email@example.com. If you require further information about the Legal Ombudsman visit their website at www.legalombudsman.org.uk
We are Abels solicitors of 6 College Place London Road Southampton SO15 2XL .You can also contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org . The person with overall charge of how your information is dealt with is Peter Humphris (p.humphris@abels-solicitors).
If you wish us to do the work for you then we will send you a privacy notice explaining what personal data we will need from you or others and why we need it . However the following gives you details of how in general such data is held and dealt with.
Who we share it with
We may need personal data to complete forms or applications we have to make particularly to Government organisations who will have their procedures for dealing with personal data. As an example a third party funder such as the legal Aid Agency or an insurer will need this information to process any application for legal aid or for other funding and you will sign a separate form with them.
In addition to the fee-earner others in this office may need access to this information such a secretary or our accounts department but only so far as it is necessary to do what we have agreed to do.
Sometimes we will need to instruct someone else to represent you or advise on your case and will have to pass them on some of this information. We will ensure that they are professionally qualified and they will bound by the same rules as we are on dealing with your information.
It may be necessary in order for us to do the work we do for you to get hold of details about your medical history and you will be asked to sign a form of authority to allow us to see these and pass them onto others such as a medical expert preparing a report on you.
Sharing with our regulator
To do the work we do we have to be regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) who may require access to your file and the personal information on it under the law.
We are required by the SRA to take steps to avoid acting for two different people in the same matter or where we have been told something by one person which if we acted for the second person we might have to tell that person or where it would be embarrassing for us to act. An example would be if we acted for you and you were in another case a witness for the prosecution and we were asked to help the Defendant. We keep a list of client’s names and addresses which we hold indefinitely. We feel we need this to comply with the law.
Where there is a complaint
We hope you will be happy with the work we do but if not you have the right to complain. If you are not happy with how we deal with that complaint then you can contact the Legal Ombudsman. They will need to see your file and the personal information on it to deal with any complaint. They can ask for this under the law.
We are required to have clients provide proof of identity to avoid money laundering activities and are required by law to keep this so we can prove to the SRA or other authority that we have undertaken these checks.
Keeping your information
At the end of your case and after we have been paid for the work we have done we write to you to ask what you want to do with the file . If you want us to keep it then we send it to a company called Restore who look after it for us. You can always change your mind at any stage We only keep it for 12 years before we then arrange for it to be shredded by them . Likewise we will have computer records including emails which again we will delete after 12 years . We keep your file, or in certain cases a copy of your file to ensure it is available should we need the information on it to deal with any legal claim involving us. We believe we have a legitimate interest in doing this.
Sharing with auditors
Any third party funder or the Legal Aid Agency will have a contract with us under which we are required share the details on your file with them to check we are complying with their rules. If we don’t then we are in breach of contract and so feel we have a legitimate interest in allowing them access to your file.
Finally we may need to show your file to auditors such as the people who provide our quality mark (currently LEXCEL) or our accountants. We need your consent to this and you can withdraw this at any stage.
We must make it clear how we will deal with your personal data and we trust you find this letter of help.
You have a right to seek information or access to the information we hold on you provided such requests are not unfounded or excessive. We will deal with such requests as soon as practical but in any event within a month or where the matter is complex or there are numerous requests by up to two further months after an explanation from us. There will be no charge.
You can ask us to change the information we hold if it is wrong and tell others we have passed it to of the mistake.
Subject to the need for us to keep hold of and use your personal information for the above reasons you have the right to ask that it be erased and its use restricted.
You have the right to request we provide you with the information we hold on computer on you and for its transfer to someone else. We would intend doing this on a disc or memory stick which would be password protected. We would provide you with this within a month of your request.
Where we use your personal data for direct marketing or where we claim a legitimate interest you have a right to object to our dealing with your data but we claim a legitimate interest we can contest that if appropriate.
If you wish to complain about the handling of your personal information then you can do so by making a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office at
Telephone: 0303 123 1113 or 01625 545745
Fax: 01625 524510