Complaint Management Process
TABLE OF CONTENTS
First point of contact
The MC Lawyers staff member who receives the complaint is to deal with it at the first instance. The staff member may receive the complaint face to face or via telephone, letter or email. Certain complaints, including those raising very serious concerns, are to be automatically referred to the next stage.
If the complainant is satisfied with the response to the complaint at the first point of contact, no further action is required.
An MC Lawyers staff member should automatically refer certain complaints the MC Lawyers Complaints Officer. These include complaints about the staff member’s own conduct, where it is not appropriate for the staff member to deal with it, and those of a more serious nature.
A complaint should also be referred to the Complaints Officer when a staff member has tried to resolve a matter, but the complainant is still dissatisfied and would like to deal with another person.
The Complaints Officer must not have been involved in the original action that is under review and must be no less senior than the officer who undertook the administrative action. If the appointed Complaints Officer has a potential or perceived conflict of interest in regard to the investigation, another senior lawyer of MC Lawyers will be appointed as the Complaints Officer for that complaint.
If the complainant is pursuing the complaint through an alternative process (such as the relevant state Law Society’s complaints process), the complainant would be expected to complete that process before any investigation by MC Lawyers commences.
The Complaints Officer will ensure that a complainant is advised of the review within 10 working days. The timeframe for completing a first review will depend on the circumstances including the seriousness, urgency, and complexity of the matters to be investigated. The Complaints Officer will keep the complainant informed of the progress of the investigation.
Upon completion of the first review, the complainant will be provided with a Statement of Reasons. The Statement of Reasons describes:
- The relevant MC Lawyers policies, local laws and other statutory provisions, such as the sections of legislation or Law Society guidelines;
- Correspondence and other communications relating to the complaint;
- Evidence and other material available to MC Lawyers;
- Findings of fact;
- Any decisions made by MC Lawyers in regard to the complaint; and
- The reasons for MC Lawyers’ decisions.
If the complainant is satisfied with the Statement of Reasons from the first review, no further action is required.
If the complainant remains dissatisfied with the outcome from the first review, the complainant may request a second review by a senior lawyer of MC Lawyers that has not previously been involved in the complaint or the original action that is under review. If no uninvolved senior lawyer is available, MC Lawyers will appoint a senior consultant to undertake the review.
The second reviewer will consider the request, the Statement of Reasons from the first review, and any other relevant information that is available.
The second reviewer will either:
- Determine that a second review is warranted
- Determine that all avenues for perusing the complaint have been exhausted and no further investigation is required.
If a second review is not considered to be warranted, the complainant will be advised of that decision and the reasons for the decision. If the complainant is satisfied with that response, no further action is required.
If the second reviewer considers that a second review is warranted, the complainant will be advised accordingly and the second reviewer will conduct further investigation, analysis and consultation with the complainant and other stakeholders as required. The second review will consider the process that was followed during the first review.
The second reviewer will consider all available evidence, make a decision or recommendation and provide a report on the findings of the second review to the principals of MC Lawyers.
The complainant will be advised of the final decision and be provided with a second Statement of Reasons. The complainant will also be provided with information about the complaint process of the relevant state Law Society. If the complainant is satisfied with the response from the second review, no further action is required.
The complainant will be advised of the final decision and be provided with a second Statement of Reasons. The complainant will also be provided with information about the complaint process of relevant state Law Society. If the complainant is satisfied with the response from the second review, no further action is required.
Complainants will not be disadvantaged for complaining
Clients and other people who we have professional dealings with are welcome to complain about any aspect of MC Lawyers’ service. All complaints will be dealt with confidentially. No person will suffer reprisals as a result of complaining about us.