1. Definition of terms
In this office complaints procedure, the following terms have the following meanings:
- complaint: every written expression of displeasure of or on behalf of the client towards the lawyer, or persons working under the latter’s responsibility, about the formation or execution of the terms of a letter of engagement, the quality of the services or the amount of the fee statement, which is not a complaint as referred to in paragraph 4 of the Dutch Counsel Act (Advocatenwet);
- complainant: the client or the client’s representative who makes a complaint known;
- complaints officer: the lawyer who is responsible for handling the complaint.
2. Scope of application
1. This office complaints procedure applies to every letter of engagement between Wijn & Stael and the client.
2. Every lawyer of Wijn & Stael is responsible for handling complaints in accordance with the office complaints procedure.
The aims of this office complaints procedure are:
a. to lay down a procedure for handling clients’ complaints within a reasonable period of time in a constructive manner;
b. to lay down a procedure for determining the cause of clients’ complaints;
c. to maintain and improve existing relationships through proper complaint handling;
d. to train employees to respond to complaints in a client-orientated manner;
e. to improve the quality of the services through complaint handling and complaint analysis.
4. Information on commencement of the services
1. This office complaints procedure has been made public. Before the letter of engagement is signed, the lawyer must point out to the client that the office has an office complaints procedure and that this applies to the services to be provided.
2. In its general conditions, Wijn & Stael has specified the independent party or authority with whom a complaint that has not been resolved after having been handled can be lodged in order to obtain a binding decision and Wijn & Stael has made this known on confirmation of the engagement.
3. Complaints as referred to in Article 1 of this office complaints procedure, which have not been resolved after having been handled, must be submitted to the Disputes Committee for the Legal Profession (Geschillencommissie Advocatuur).
5. Internal complaints procedure
1. If a client contacts the office with a complaint, the complaint will be passed on to Mr T.T. van Zanten, LL.M., who will then act as complaints officer.
2. The complaints officer will inform the person complained about that a complaint has been lodged and will give the complainant and the person complained about the opportunity to provide an explanation with regard to the complaint.
3. The person complained about will endeavour to find a solution together with the client, with or without the intervention of the complaints officer.
4. The complaints officer will handle the complaint within four weeks of receipt of the complaint or will inform the complainant, stating reasons, that this period cannot be adhered to, specifying the period within which it will be possible to give an opinion about the complaint.
5. The complaints officer will inform the complainant and the person complained about, in writing, of the opinion regarding the merits of the complaint, with or without recommendations.
6. If the complaint has been handled to the satisfaction of the complainant, the complainant, the complaints officer and the person complained about will sign the opinion regarding the merits of the complaint.
6. Confidentiality and free complaint handling
1. The complaints officer and the person complained about will maintain confidentiality with regard to the handling of the complaint.
2. The complainant will not be obliged to pay the costs involved in the handling of the complaint.
1. The complaints officer is responsible for handling the complaint in a prompt manner.
2. The person complained about will keep the complaints officer informed of any contact and a possible resolution.
3. The complaints officer will keep the complainant informed of the handling of the complaint.
4. The complaints officer will keep the complaints file up to date.
8. Complaints registration
1. The complaints officer will register the complaint and also the subject of the complaint.
2. A complaint may be classified under several subjects.
3. The complaints officer will report regularly on the handling of the complaints and will make recommendations to prevent new complaints and to improve procedures.
4. At least once a year the reports and the recommendations will be discussed in the office and submitted to the Executive Board for a decision.
1. Definition of terms