We are committed to providing the best possible service to you throughout your dealings with DMC. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service we have provided then you should inform us immediately so that we can do our best to resolve the problem and improve our standards.

We deal with complaints in accordance with the requirements and time limits recommended by the Law Society of Northern Ireland and as set out in the Solicitors (Client Communications) Practice Regulations 2008.

You must raise any complaint, in writing, within 6 months of the conclusion of the business or within 6 months of discovery of the difficulty, whichever is the later. Should you be dissatisfied with the outcome of our in-house investigation you may raise a complaint with the Law Society. Any complaint raised with the Society must be within 6 months of the conclusion of our investigation.

Please note the time limits set out in this procedure – your complaint may not be considered by us or the Law Society should it be made outside of the specified time limits.

The director who oversees the complaint procedure is Margarita Sloane margaritas@donaldson-mcconnell.com

We have set out the ways in which we will deal with your complaint below. We have an informal and a formal complaints procedure. Regardless of which process you prefer, making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case unless it becomes apparent that there has been irreparable damage to the client/solicitor relationship.


1 Our Informal Complaints Procedure

We welcome the opportunity to engage with our clients as soon as possible once they raise any issue of concern and aim to deal with any issue between solicitors and client in relation to the service provided before the matter escalates to a formal complaint. We would therefore, if appropriate, ask you to initially consider our informal complaints procedure.

It may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your case to discuss your concerns in the first instance. Your initial retainer with DMC should set out which solicitor is responsible for your file, together with the name of the director overseeing that department. If you are unsure who is acting in your case, you can find our reference on any correspondence we have sent to you.

We are happy to discuss any potential difficulties in this informal manner either by telephone, letter or email or during a scheduled appointment. If your case is being handled by a solicitor who is not a director of the firm then the complaint should be made to the director who oversees your case.  However, if your case is being run by a director, the head of that department will deal with it.  If the case is being run by a head of department you can refer your complaint to them or, if you prefer, to another director.

Once aware of the issue, the solicitor dealing with your case will do their best to resolve any issues and will inform Margarita Sloane that a complaint has been made so that we can update our complaints file and so that she can monitor progress of the complaint.

If our informal policy does not address your concerns, or if you feel that your complaint cannot be dealt with by this informal procedure, you should write to Margarita Sloane; margaritas@donaldson-mcconnell.com and commence our formal complaint procedure below.


2 Our Formal Complaints Procedure

You can use our formal complaints procedure as follows:-

  1. Please write to us setting out your complaint by clearly stating the issue which is causing you concern and the solicitor who is the subject of your complaint. Please address this letter to Margarita Sloane; you can decide if you also wish to send a copy to the solicitor in question. The more specific the letter of complaint is, the more quickly we can respond to your complaint.
  2. We will send you a letter acknowledging receipt of your complaint within seven days of receiving it, enclosing a copy of this procedure.
  3. We will then investigate your complaint. This will normally involve passing your complaint to Margarita Sloane who will review your matter file and speak to the member of staff who acted for you.
  4. Margarita Sloane will then write to you with her substantive findings within 28 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.
  5. Sometimes however, if the complaint is complicated, we may need further time to review the file or to speak to other parties involved with your case (your barrister, your accountant etc). If so, we will write and tell you and set a realistic time limit.
  6. On concluding the investigation Margarita Sloane will contact you to arrange a meeting to discuss her findings and to put forward suggestions or possible solutions.
  7. Should you accept the offer of a meeting Margarita Sloane will write to you within seven days of the meeting to confirm what took place and any solutions she has agreed with you.
  8. If you do not want a meeting, or if the matter is complex, then Margarita Sloane will send you a detailed written reply to your complaint, including her suggestions for resolving the matter.
  9. At this stage, you can confirm that you are content with the outcome of the process and that you are content with the suggestions or solutions offered. We will then record the outcome in our register and note that that the matter is closed.
  10. If you are not satisfied with the outcome you can contact us again and ask that we arrange for another director of DMC who is unconnected with the matter to review the decision.
  11. We will write to you with our final response within14 days of receiving your request for a review. We will set out our final position on your complaint and explain our reasons.
  12. If you are still not satisfied, we will agree to mediation or you can refer your complaint to the Law Society of Northern Ireland. For further details see here