Complaints Policy

Help & information

We are committed to providing a high-quality legal service to all clients. When something goes wrong, we need you to tell us about it. This will help us to improve our standards and to have the opportunity to put things right.

If you have a complaint, please contact us with the details in one of the following two ways:

  • Informally: please discuss any issues with the person dealing with your matter in the first instance, in case they can resolve your issues
  • Formally: if you would rather not raise an informal complaint or the issues cannot be solved informally for whatever reason, then please contact us to raise a formal complaint under this policy, setting out a brief explanation of your complaint, what you think could be done to resolve the complaint and how to get in contact with you. The contact details are as follows:
    • The letter should initially be addressed to Management Committee, Venner Shipley LLP, 200 Aldersgate Street, London EC1A 4HD; and/or
    • An email attaching the letter should be sent to:
    • The Legal Ombudsman expects complaints to be made to them within one year of the date of the act or omission about which you are concerned or within one year of you realising there was a concern. You must also refer your concerns to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of our final response to you.

What will happen next?

  • We will endeavour to send you a letter acknowledging receipt of your complaint within three (3) days of receiving it, enclosing a copy of this policy. We will fully document the complaint and the process for our handling of it.
  • We will then investigate your complaint. This will normally involve the Management Committee reviewing your matter file and speaking to the member of staff who acted for you.
  • The Management Committee will then invite you to a meeting (either by telephone or in person) to discuss and hopefully resolve your We will endeavour to organise this within 14 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.
  • Within three (3) days of the meeting, the Management Committee will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions they have agreed with you.
  • If you do not want a meeting or it is not possible, we will endeavour to send you a detailed written reply to your complaint, including suggestions for resolving the matter, within 21 days of sending you the acknowledgment letter.
  • At this stage if you are still not satisfied, you should contact us again and we will arrange for a senior partner unconnected with the matter at the firm to review the decision.
  • We will endeavour to write to you within 14 days of receiving your request for a review, confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons.

Possible further action

  • We will endeavour to complete our response within eight (8) In the unlikely event you have not received our final review within eight (8) weeks of our receiving your complaint, you may involve an independent mediator to assist with resolving the complaint.
  • If after our investigation and response you are not satisfied with our final position, you have a right to raise your concerns with the appropriate regulatory body as follows:
    • For possible professional misconduct (alleged breach of the Rules of Conduct or Litigators’ Code of Conduct for registered patent attorneys and trade mark attorneys) you should address your concerns to the Intellectual Property Regulation Board (IPReg) or in some cases (mainly complaints between professionals) the European Patent Institute (epi).  Any complaint to the IPReg must usually be made within 12 months of the date of the professional misconduct alleged or your discovery of it but for further information, you should contact the IPReg on 020 7353 4373 or via their Website or by e-mail to
    • For claims of poor service you should contact the Legal Ombudsman. The Legal Service Act has set up the Legal Ombudsman to deal with complaints of poor service. Ordinarily, a complainant must also refer a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within one year of the complaint to the firm and generally within six months of the firm’s response. We will confirm the relevant deadline in our response to a complaint made to us. Please note that the Legal Ombudsman generally handles complaints only by individuals, very small businesses, charities, trusts and clubs and associations. You can contact the Legal Ombudsman at Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ; or by telephone on 0300 555 0333; via website or by e-mail at

We will assist you in contacting the relevant body and will cooperate fully in their investigation.

Please note

  • Your complaint will be investigated and handled independently of any ongoing work matters with us; the ongoing work matters will continue to progress as normal and will not be affected by the complaints procedure, assuming no conflict of interests has arisen and that you continue to comply with the terms of our engagement as set out in our engagement letter and terms of business.
  • Our terms of business provide that our invoices remain upon receipt regardless of the investigation of any complaint. However, please be assured that if the outcome of any complaint investigation concludes that any adjustment or reduction in costs should be made, any reimbursement will be paid promptly at that time.