Alderson Law

Complaints Procedure

This Complaints Handling Procedure tells you how we will deal with your complaint and how long it is likely to take. It also provides important information about what you can do if you are not happy with the way in which we are dealing with your complaint, or about our final decision.

Designated Complaints Handler

If you have any concerns about our service, our work, or our charges, you should discuss these first with the individual who has day-to-day control of your matter.
If this person cannot satisfactorily address your concerns and you wish to make a complaint, please contact our Designated Complaints Handler, Tracey Murray, Partner.

You can write to them at Pethgate House, Castle Square, Morpeth NE61 1YL or send an email to traceymurray@aldersonlaw.co.uk

Step One: Acknowledging your Complaint
Within two working days of receiving your complaint, your complaint will be recorded in our Complaints Register and a separate file will be opened in which we will store any correspondence and other documents relating to your complaint. Within two working days we will also send you a letter acknowledging your complaint.

Step Two: Investigating your Complaint
Within five working days of receiving your complaint, we will review your file(s) and any other relevant documentation and send you a letter telling you how we propose to deal with your complaint. Examples of what we might say in this letter are as follows:

  • If your complaint is straightforward we might make suggestions as to how we can put things right or we may offer you some form of redress;
  • If your complaint is more complicated we might ask you to confirm, explain or clarify any issues;
  • We may ask to meet with you to discuss things face-to-face and we would hope to be in a position to meet with you no longer than fourteen working days after first receiving your complaint. If you would prefer not to meet, or if we cannot arrange this within an agreeable timescale, we will write to you fully setting out our views on the situation and making suggestions as to how we can put things right, or asking you to confirm, explain or clarify any issues. Within three working days of any meeting, we will write to you again to confirm what took place and to confirm any offer of redress that we have made.
    Whichever form our investigation takes, we will aim to give you our final decision within six weeks of receiving your complaint (or sooner if possible).

Step Three: Appealing against our Final Decision
If you are not satisfied with our final decision, please let us know and we will review our decision again. We will let you know the result of any appeal within five working days of receiving your appeal.

Step Four: The Legal Ombudsman
If you are still not satisfied, you can then contact the Legal Ombudsman about your complaint provided you do so within six months of the end of our Internal Complaints Handling Procedure.

In addition, there are time limits relating to the date you first became aware or should have become aware of the problem. The relevant time limits are set out in the version of the Legal Ombudsman’s Scheme Rules in force from time to time (which can be accessed at: https://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/information-centre/corporate-publications/scheme-rules/ or by contacting the Legal Ombudsman using the contact details provided below) and may only be extended by the Legal Ombudsman in exceptional circumstances.
Ordinarily, you cannot use the Legal Ombudsman unless you have first attempted to resolve your complaint using our internal Complaints Handling procedure, but you will be able to contact the Legal Ombudsman if:

  • The complaint has not been resolved to your satisfaction within eight weeks of first making the compliant to us; or
  • The Legal Ombudsman decides that there are exceptional reasons why the Legal Ombudsman should consider your complaint sooner, or without you having to use our internal Complaints Handling Procedure first; or
  • The Legal Ombudsman considers that your complaint cannot be resolved using our internal Complaints Handling Procedure because the relationship between you and us has broken down irretrievably.

If you wish to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, you must be one of the following:

  • An individual;
  • A micro-enterprise as defined in European Recommendation 2003/361/EC of 6 May 2003 (broadly, an enterprise with fewer than 10 staff and a turnover or balance sheet value not exceeding €2 million);
  • A charity with an annual income less than £1 million;
  • A club, association or society with an annual income less than £1 million;
  • A trustee of a trust with a net asset value less than £1 million; or
  • A personal representative or the residuary beneficiaries of an estate where a person with a complaint died before referring it to the Legal Ombudsman.

If you are not, you should be aware that you can only obtain redress by using our Complaints Handling Procedure or by mediation or arbitration, or by taking action through the Courts.

Legal Ombudsman Contact Details
Address: PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ
Telephone: 0300 555 0333
Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk
Website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk

Complaining to the Solicitors Regulation Authority
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.

Address: Solicitors Regulation Authority, The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RN
Telephone: 0370 606 2555
Email: report@sra.org.uk
Website: www.sra.org.uk

Alternative Dispute Resolution
Where we are not able to settle your complaint using our internal complaints process, there are alternative complaints bodies (such as the Ombudsman Services www.ombudsman-services.org) which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme.

Please let us know if you would like to consider using an alternative complaints body to resolve your complaint.

UPDATED May 14th 2021

Contact Us

Telephone Blyth: 

01670 352293

Telephone Morpeth:

01670 519714

Telephone Whitley Bay:

0191 2533509

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SRA number 402010

Alderson Law LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales under company number OC307338.
Registered office: Pethgate House, Castle Square, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 1YL

Authorised and Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under SRA ID number 402010.

ICO No. Z729984X

FCA No. LS 596109

Equality & Diversity Survey

Chris was originally a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives from 1997 and qualified as a Solicitor in 2001.

He has over 25 years experience in private client work comprising Wills, Trusts, Probate, Powers of Attorney and other Court of Protection Work such as Deputyship applications. Chris has been a Partner in several firms in the North East, being Head of Wills, Trusts and Probate.

He brings a wealth of experience to his role and works closely with clients, providing them with a service tailored to their needs

Susan was born and bred in the North East, spending all of her working life in Blyth. She qualified in 1981 and, after some years at Alderson Law, began to specialise in family law, covering both private and legal aid. Susan was a member of the Law Society Family Panel and an accredited Resolution specialist, specialising particularly in private children law and domestic violence.

Susan took part-retirement in December 2018 but still works as a Solicitor here at Alderson Law. Outside of work she enjoys cooking, walking, reading, and spending time with her family. She has also been a Brownie leader for over 40 years.

Originally from East Yorkshire, Jasmine moved to the North East to study Law at Northumbria, graduating with a First Class Honours and a Very Competent in the Bar Professional Training Course. Before joining Alderson Law Jasmine specialised in RTA Fraud in a Personal Injury firm.

She joined our team as a Family Law Paralegal in 2018, after which she undertook the Legal Practice Course at the University of Sunderland and became a Trainee Solicitor in March 2020. In her spare time Jasmine likes visiting the beach and watching live music.

Julie is a highly experienced property solicitor. She studied Law at Northumbria University and, after qualifying in 2000, went on to work at national and international firms prior to joining the team at Anderson Law in 2017. She works alongside her clients, advising on residential and commercial property development, property investment, portfolio management, property finance, landlord and tenant, easements and restrictive covenants.

Fiona is a specialist private client lawyer providing advice and assistance with wills, trusts, tax planning, probate & estate administration, lasting powers of attorney, court of protection and elderly client work. Having previously worked with a number of Newcastle-based firms listed in The Legal 500, Fiona brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. She is a full member of STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners), the association for specialists in family inheritance and succession planning.

Fiona grew up in Northern Ireland and studied law at Durham University, and has remained in the North East ever since. She enjoys spending time with her family at their cottage in Northumberland.

Mark Hipkin, partner at Alderson Law LLP, has been advising businesses and claimants since he qualified as a solicitor in 1982.

Mark’s passion is for representing claimants on two wheels in complex, serious and catastrophic motorcycle, scooter and cycle injuries, but he also has extensive experience of acting for claimants in many other personal injury areas including occupiers and public liability work and accidents at work. He specialises in challenging and complex cases. Mark always puts the client first, looking from the first day of instruction to obtain the best and fairest outcome for a claimant, no matter how long a case may take. He is a fan of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and early neutral valuation as alternatives to litigation. Sometimes, however, litigation is the best option, together with the necessary drive to see every matter through to a fair conclusion.

Mark also, having started his own business, advises business clients, often with motorcycle-, scooter- or cycle-related businesses and also deals with complex commercial disputes, professional negligence cases, and general civil litigation.

Mark likes to spend what free time he has with his family, his faithful sprocket spaniel, and practising Tai Chi and Tang Too Do (Korean karate – in which he is a second Dan).

Having worked in family law for over 25 years, Julie is a highly accomplished specialist in her field. She has a vast body of experience in dealing with family law, from divorce and related financial issues to complex child-related cases. Julie was the first person in North Tyneside to achieve the status of an accredited advanced family law specialist, and is a member of the Law Society Advanced Family Panel, which demonstrates her experience in complex contested family cases and other subject-specific matters.

Though multi-talented and highly experienced, Julie’s particular speciality is in complex ancillary relief (financial settlement) claims and complex residence and contact disputes.

In her spare time Julie enjoys relaxing and spending time with her family and three grandchildren. She attends clients at our Whitley Bay and Blythe offices.

Tracey is one of our Partners and qualified as a solicitor in 1997. Throughout her career she has had a varied caseload undertaking matters in most areas of civil and private client law. Tracey can assist clients in a wide range of matters including: Wills, Probate, Powers of Attorney, Debt Recovery, Residential and Commercial Conveyancing as well as Licensing and Landlord and Tenant matters.

Tracey is one of our most senior practitioners with over 20 years of local experience, having graduated from both Newcastle University and Northumbria University. When not in the office she enjoys walking, cycling, and cooking with her family.