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Complaint handling procedure for Kuyp Baar advocaten

1. Definitions

any reasonably identifiable, oral or written expression of dissatisfaction with the services provided by the lawyer, made by or on behalf of the client.

the client who makes a complaint, or his representative.

complaint handling procedure
the procedure followed by the firm for the handling of complaints.

complaints procedure
this document, being the written representation of the complaint handling procedure followed by the legal firm.

complaints officer
the person, other than the lawyer against whom the complaint is directed, to whom the handling of the complaint has been assigned.

complaint registration form
a form to be used internally to implement the procedure laid down in the complaints procedure.

Disputes Committee for the Legal Profession
the committee set up by the Foundation for Consumer Complaints Boards and the Foundation for Professional and Commercial Complaints Boards to which the firm can submit disputed and unpaid bills and before which price/quality disputes can be laid if the solution offered by the firm does not lead to satisfaction.

Dispute settlement scheme for the Legal Profession
the procedure followed by the Disputes Committee for the Legal Profession to resolve disputes between lawyers and clients.

Legal Profession Disputes Committee Rules
the rules that lay down the working method of the Disputes Committee for the Legal Profession.

2. Objectives

The objectives of the complaints procedure are:

  1. To lay down a procedure to deal with client complaints in a constructive manner within a reasonable period of time.
  2. To establish a procedure to determine the grounds for client complaints.
  3. To maintain and improve existing relationships through proper complaint handling.
  4. To train staff in client-centered response to complaints.
  5. To improve service quality through complaint handling and complaint analysis.

3. To keep the client informed.

The lawyer:

  1. Notifies the client that the firm has a complaints procedure.
  2. Informs the client of the availability of the option to submit unresolvable issues to the Disputes Committee for the Legal Profession.
  3. Notifies the client that the Legal Profession Disputes Committee Rules can be obtained from the secretary of the committee at Postbox 90600, 2509 LP The Hague.

4. The internal complaint handling procedure

  1. When a client approaches the firm in any manner with a complaint, the concerned lawyer must be informed.
  2. The concerned lawyer will try to find a solution jointly with the client, whether or not after consultation with the complaints officer.
  3. The concerned lawyer or the complaints officer, as the case may be, will ensure proper handling of the complaint in accordance with the present complaints procedure.
  4. Confidentiality must be ensured in all circumstances.
  5. The decision on the complaint will be communicated to the client.
  6. If during the contact with the client, the complaint is not settled satisfactorily, the matter will be submitted to the Disputes Committee for the Legal Profession.

5. Registration and classification of the complaint

  1. All complaints shall be registered in accordance with the complaint registration form.
  2. The complaints officer shall register and classify the complaint.
  3. The complaint shall be classified
    - according to method of submission as
    A. oral
    B. written
    - according to the nature of the complaint, into the following categories
    I. complaints about the working methods of/the behaviour of the lawyer
    II. complaints about substantive aspects of the services
    III. complaints about the financial aspects of the service
    IV. complaints about the practice of law in general
  4. A complaint may be classified into several classes.
  5. If the complaint is satisfactorily resolved, the concerned lawyer and the complaints officer shall sign the Complaint Registration Form.

6. Responsibilities

  1. The concerned lawyer, followed by the complaints officer shall be responsible for the handling and resolution of complaints.
  2. The complaints officer shall be responsible for ensuring that the complaint registration form is completed in full.
  3. The lawyer concerned shall keep the complaints officer informed of the further handling of the complaint.
  4. The complaint must be settled in writing by the firm within four weeks.
  5. The complaints officer shall ensure that a response is provided to the complainant.
  6. The complaints officer shall keep the complaint file up-to-date.

7. Analysis of complaints.

  1. Complaint registration forms shall be collected from the complaints officer after the complaint has been processed.
  2. The complaints officer shall make periodic reports of the handling of complaints.
  3. The complaints officer shall process the data and conduct an annual analysis.
  4. The complaints officer shall also make recommendations for preventing new complaints from arising, as well as for the improvement of procedures.

8. Internal discussions

  1. Once a year, the complaint data shall be discussed at the firm, based on an analysis.
  2. Measures for improvement shall be prepared and scheduled.
  3. The complaints officer shall be responsible for preparing for this meeting and conducting an analysis.

9. Preventive action

  1. Based on the annual analysis of the complaints officer, the firm shall decide on the preventive measures to be taken to improve the quality of service.
  2. The measures to be taken shall be presented together with the analysis at the firm’s meeting.