MA law office complaints procedure
Article 1 Definitions
In this office complaints procedure, the following terms have the following meaning:
- complaint: any written expression of dissatisfaction by or on behalf of the client against the lawyer, or against the persons working under the responsibility of the lawyer, regarding the conclusion and performance of a professional services agreement (overeenkomst van opdracht), the quality of the services, or the amount of the invoice, other than a complaint as referred to in section 4 of the Counsel Act (Advocatenwet);
- complainant: the client or the client’s representative who gives notice of a complaint;
- complaints officer: the lawyer who is entrusted with handling the complaint.
Article 2 Scope of application
- This office complaints procedure applies to every professional services agreement between MA law and the client.
- Every lawyer of MA law is responsible for ensuring that complaints are handled in accordance with the office complaints procedure.
Article 3 Objectives
This office complaints procedure aims:
- to establish a procedure to handle complaints of clients within a reasonable time and in a constructive manner;
- to establish a procedure to determine the causes of client’s complaints;
- to preserve and improve existing relationships by means of proper complaints handling;
- to train employees in responding to complaints in a client-focused manner;
- to improve the quality of the service provision by means of handling complaints and complaints analysis.
Article 4 Information available when services commence
- This office complaints procedure has been made public. Before entering into the professional services agreement, the lawyer will advise the client that the firm has an office complaints procedure which applies to the services assigned.
- In the professional services agreement, i.e. in the general terms and conditions, MA law has specified the independent party or institution to which a complaint can be submitted if it remains unresolved after internal handling in order to obtain a binding decision, and has made this clear upon confirmation of the assignment.
- Complaints as referred to in Article 1 of this office complaints procedure which have not been resolved after internal handling will be submitted to the court.
Article 5 Internal complaints procedure
- If a client contacts the firm with a complaint, this complaint will be forwarded to E. in ‘t Veld LL.M. who will then act as complaints officer, unless the complaint relates to E. in ‘t Veld LL.M., in which case the complaint will be forwarded to R.C.W. van der Zande LL.M. who, in that case, will act as complaints officer.
- The complaints officer notifies the party in relation to whom the complaint has been submitted of the complaint and gives the complainant and the other party an opportunity to clarify the complaint.
- The party in relation to whom the complaint has been submitted will try to reach a solution with the client, after or without the intervention of the complaints officer.
- The complaints officer will deal with the complaint within four weeks after its receipt, or will inform the complainant about a deviation from this time limit, stating reasons and stating the time limit within which an opinion about the complaint can be given.
- The complaints officer will give the complainant and the party in relation to whom the complaint has been submitted written notice of the opinion on the merits of the complaint, which may be accompanied by recommendations.
- If the complaint has been satisfactorily settled, the complainant, the complaints officer, and the party in relation to whom the complaint has been submitted will sign the opinion on the merits of the complaint.
Article 6 Confidentiality and free complaint handling
- The complaints officer and the party in relation to whom the complaint has been submitted will observe confidentiality during the handling of the complaint.
- No costs are payable by the complainant for the handling of the complaint.
Article 7 Responsibilities
- The complaints officer is responsible for settlement of the complaint in good time.
- The party in relation to whom the complaint has been submitted must keep the complaints officer informed of any contact and potential solution.
- The complaints officer will update the complainant on progress in terms of handling the complaint.
- The complaints officer keeps the complaint file up to date.
Article 8 Complaint registration
- The complaints officer registers the complaint and the topic of the complaint.
- A complaint can be classified under several topics.
- The complaints officer issues periodical reports on the handling of complaints and makes recommendations on how to avoid new complaints and improve procedures.
- The reports and recommendations are to be discussed within the firm at least once annually and submitted for decisions to be made.