Article 1 - definitions
In this complaints procedure, the following terms are defined as follows:
- Complaint: any verbal or written statement of dissatisfaction, which is reasonably denoted as such, with regard to the services of an attorney, made known by or on behalf of the client, not being a disciplinary complaint as referred to in paragraph 4 of the Netherlands Bar Act. The complaint must be submitted to the firm within three (3) months after the moment the client became aware or could reasonably have been aware of the lawyer's actions/omissions that gave rise to the complaint, however, in any case within a period of three (3) months after the end of the relevant case;
- Complainant: the client(s) or his representative who files a complaint;
- Complaints procedure*: the complaints procedure applied within the firm;
- Complaints system: this document, being the written representation of the complaints procedure applied within the firm;
- Complaints officer: the person, not being the lawyer against whom the complaint is addressed, who has been put in charge to deal with the complaint;
- Complaint file: an internal file to be kept for each complaint, in which all documents relating to the complaint are included.
Article 2 – Scope
- This complaints procedure applies to every assignment agreement between the client and Sorko Advocaten;
- Each lawyer at Sorko Advocaten is responsible for handling complaints in accordance with the complaints procedure.
Article 3 – Objectives
- Establishment of a procedure to deal with client complaints in a constructive manner within a reasonable period of time;
- Establishment of a procedure to determine the causes of the client’s complaint;
- Maintaining and improving existing relationships through proper complaints handling;
- Training employees in client-focused response to complaints;
- Improvement of the quality of the services through complaint handling and complaint analysis.
Article 4 – Information upon commencement of the services
- Before entering into the assignment agreement, the lawyer will point out to the client that the office applies a complaints procedure in accordance with the Office Handbook which is available at Sorko Advocaten and applies to the services;
- If an amicable solution is not possible, the client must decide whether to lodge the complaint with the President of the Bar Association;
- Clients of attorney A.M. Willenborg, associated with Sorko Advocaten, may also, if an amicable solution proves impossible, lodge their complaint with the Vereniging van Letselschade Advocaten (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers), de Advocaten voor Slachtoffers van Personenschade (the Attorneys for Victims of Personal Injury) and de Stichting Keuermerk Letselschade (the Injury Damage Quality Accreditation Foundation);
- Complaints about actions of individual lawyers can be submitted to the President of the Bar Association in the district where the lawyer is registered.
Article 5 – Internal complaints procedure
- If a client submits a complaint to the firm, the complaint will be forwarded to the appointed complaints officer. After receipt of the complaint, the client is notified of the complaints officer who is in charge of the complaint;
- The complaints officer informs the person under complaint that a complaint has been filed against him/her and gives the complainant and the person under complaint the opportunity to give explanations about the complaint;
- The person under complaint will try to find a solution together with the client, either with or without the intervention of the complaints officer;
- The complaints officer shall deal with the complaint within four (4) weeks after receipt of the complaint or informs the complainant in case this period is extended, stating the reasons and stating the period within which an opinion on the complaint will be given;
- The complaints officer informs the complainant and the person under complaint in writing of the opinion on the validity of the complaint, whether or not accompanied by recommendations.
Article 6 – Confidentiality
The complaints officer and the person under complaint shall observe confidentiality in the handling of the complaint under all circumstances.