Clinics: Compliments and complaints

This guidance is intended to provide clinics and advisers with the tools to unlock the potential of compliments and complaints procedures.



Please note, this resource is currently under review as we are updating all of our resources in light of changes to the SRA Standards and Regulations introduced from November 2019, and any regulatory changes brought about by Brexit. 


Compliments and complaints are an important way clinics learn from their experience. They have the potential to bring about improvements in service levels as well as enhancing the experience of both clients and advisers. Clinics and advisers can embrace this process as a genuine opportunity to obtain valuable and hard-to-come-by feedback from clients. Consequently, ensuring that clinics’ compliments and complaints process represents a genuine learning opportunity requires objective standards and a supportive environment.


Chapter 1 of the Solicitors' Code of Conduct 2011 requires that all practices have a process for responding to client complaints. Please see the template compliments and complaints document below.

In addition, the EU Directive on consumer alternative dispute resolution No 2006/2004 and Directive 2009/22/EC (ADR Directive) requires solicitors to provide information on the Legal Ombudsman as the statutory complaints scheme for solicitors in the event that complaints are not resolved internally, and inform the client on a durable medium:

  1. that they cannot settle the complaint with the client
  2. of the name and web address of an ADR approved body which would be competent to deal with the complaint, should both parties wish to use the scheme
  3. whether they intend to use that ADR approved body

The Law Society has produced draft wording for the purpose of the ADR Directive (see below):

“We have been unable to settle your complaint using our internal complaints process. You have a right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman, an independent complaints body, established under the Legal Services Act 2007, that deals with legal services complaints. You have six months from the date of this (our final) letter in which to complain to the Legal Ombudsman.

Legal Ombudsman
PO Box 6806

Telephone: 0300 555 0333
Email address:

Alternative complaints bodies (such as […..]) exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme.
We [state whether you do or do not] agree to use [include name of scheme].”

For information concerning the details of ADR approved bodies please look at the Law Society’s website.


These model resources can be downloaded and adapted.


Date of publication

Monday, September 3, 2018

Date last reviewed

Monday, September 3, 2018