Legal & Regulatory
Corporate Social Responsibility
We believe that our business behaviour must be socially responsible. We believe that businesses should take account of the impact of their activities on the economy and society. We aspire to make a positive impact in the community in which we operate.
We know that our clients expect similar standards of socially responsible behaviour from their professional advisers. Our policy is to make social responsibility a core value of our organisation because it makes sound business sense to do so and, more importantly, because we know it is the right thing to do.
Our activities are organised into the following areas:
In considering the environment, we have resolved:
- To encourage environmental responsibility amongst our contracts, suppliers, and staff and include environmental considerations in our purchasing and procurement processes;
- To minimise our consumption of natural resources and manage waste through responsible disposal and the reuse and recycling, including paper and ink cartridges;
- Where appropriate, staff are encouraged not to print documents or to print documents double sided;
- To minimise our use of electricity by ensuring all electrical equipment is turned off when not in use.
- pro bono work
- networking and supporting local business activities
- local charities – activities, sponsorship
- sponsorship of local clubs, events, teams etc
- workplace based – involvement in local schools, work experience, career talks etc
Equality and Inclusion Policy
Scope of This Policy
This policy covers all of our working relationships, including with:
- our colleagues, such as during recruitment exercises, promotions, appointments, training, terms and conditions and the working environment generally;
- our clients, such as how we take on new clients and work;
- suppliers of goods and services to us and to our clients, including instructing barristers and experts;
- third parties and their representatives.
It applies to all of our staff and also informs our development of policies and procedures and our operational practices.
We are committed to eliminating discrimination and encouraging diversity in all aspects of our business. We and all of our staff will respect diversity and promote equality of opportunity. We shall treat everyone we encounter in our work fairly and with respect, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, ethnic origin, nationality and national origin, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
We are committed to making reasonable adjustments for clients or staff (including those applying to join our team) with a disability to ensure that they are not placed at a substantial disadvantage compared to those who are not disabled. We will not make a charge to our staff or our clients for an adjustment we make for them. In particular and where appropriate, we are happy to:
- visit clients at home if our premises are not accessible to them due to a physical limitation;
- offer different options for communicating with individuals who have a visual, speech or hearing impairment, including arranging signing facilities;
- for clients whose first language is not English, facilitate and support access to interpretative and translative support as far as possible
We as a business will never discriminate unlawfully or bully, victimise or harass anyone and we will not tolerate such behaviour from our staff. As a business we will also take steps to train our staff and raise awareness to prevent unlawful discrimination, bullying, harassment or victimization. If any problems are identified we will act promptly and effectively to resolve them.
We hope to go beyond the basic legal requirements in this area and create a business in which individual differences are valued.
We will make this policy available for our clients and staff to view on our website. We will draw our clients’ attention to this policy when we are first instructed. We encourage clients and suppliers in particular to engage with us about any concerns which they have about delivering on the commitments we make in this policy.
The remainder of this policy sets out how we intend to ensure that we are meeting these commitments in practice.
All staff receive training on our obligations under the Equality Act, the SRA Code of Conduct and our equality and inclusion values more generally as part of our core induction training.
We use our quality and standards assurance processes to ensure that our service remains of a high technical and ethical standard. This will include consideration of whether staff are meeting the requirements of this policy and the law in this area.
We believe strongly in the benefits of a diverse workforce. We will periodically monitor the diversity of our workforce in an effort to build a strong and diverse team. We will be guided by best practice, including guidance provided by the SRA from time to time, in our approach to our workforce monitoring. Generally speaking we aim to publish a summary of our diversity data. However, we will not publish our diversity data unless we can be satisfied that there is no material risk of an individual being identified from the anonymised data.
Serious or persistent failures by any member of staff to satisfy the standards set out in this policy and in law in this area may result in disciplinary action, including in appropriate cases dismissal.
Client feedback and complaints
We are committed to providing a quality service to our clients. We value feedback from clients greatly because it helps us to continually improve our service. If you do not feel that you are receiving excellent client service or that something could be improved, please do tell us about it. If we have fallen short of the high standards which we have set for ourselves then we would like the opportunity to put it right.
What do I do if I have feedback or a complaint?
At first it would be helpful if you could discuss any feedback or concerns which you have about our service or how it might be improved with the lawyer dealing with your matter. If the lawyer dealing cannot resolve your concern informally, or if the issue is of such a serious nature that you do not feel comfortable raising it with your lawyer, then you may discuss this with our complaints officer, Chris Hook, as a complaint under this policy.
How do I raise a complaint under this policy?
It would help us if you could email Chris Hook at email@example.com with:
- why you feel dissatisfied with the service which you have received;
- how you would prefer to be contacted about your complaint;
- if there is anything in particular which you would like us to do to resolve your complaint.
If you would prefer not to email details of your complaint in this way then please call Chris Hook (complaints officer) on 01962 676 111 to discuss the best way to get an understanding of your concerns.
What happens after I have made a complaint under this policy?
Our complaints officer will:
- send an acknowledgement of your complaint within 7 days of of receiving it;
- log your complaint on our central complaints register;
- investigate the concerns and arrange a discussion with you to try to agree how to resolve the issues within 21 days of receiving your complaint;
- write to you within 28 days of receiving your complaint to confirm the outcome of this.
In exceptional circumstances it may be necessary to extend these timescales but we will try to agree any variations with you first.
What might the outcome of my complaint be?
We very much regret any dissatisfaction which our clients experience and will not hesitate to apologise to you where our service has fallen below our high standards. We may also agree that certain steps will be taken to improve your situation and to ensure that any problems experienced will not reoccur.
What if I remain unsatisfied?
You can ask for the outcome of your complaint to be reconsidered by our complaints officer if you remain unsatisfied. Details of this will be set out in our letter notifying you of the outcome of your complaint. It would again be helpful to know at this stage if there is anything further specifically which we could do to resolve your concerns satisfactorily. Our complaints officer may then uphold the outcome or reconsider it and replace it with alternative suggestions on how your complaint can be resolved. This would be our final decision on how we can resolve your concerns. You will receive the outcome of the review of your complaint(s) within 8 weeks of raising your complaint with us at the latest.
If you remain dissatisfied at that stage, you may be entitled to complain to the Legal Ombudsman about our service (the Ombudsman would generally expect clients to follow a firm’s internal complaints procedure first). You can find further information about the Ombudsman on the website www.legalombudsman.org.uk. You can write to the Ombudsman at Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 0300 555 0333. If you wish to raise a complaint with the Ombudsman then you should not delay bringing it to their attention once our own complaints process has concluded as there are some time limits on when this must be done. For example, normally you must raise a complaint with the Ombudsman within six months of the firm’s own final decision on how to resolve your complaint.