Article 1 definitions
In this office complaints procedure, the following terms are defined as follows:
- complaint: any expression of dissatisfaction made by or on behalf of the client in writing in respect of the lawyer or the persons working under his responsibility that relates to the formation and performance of an engagement letter, the quality of services rendered, or the invoiced amount, not being a complaint as referred to in Section 4 of the Counsel Act (Advocatenwet);
- complainant: the client or his representative who expresses a complaint;
- complaints officer: the lawyer charged with handling the complaint.
Article 2 scope
1. This office complaints procedure applies to all engagement letters between Rassers Advocaten and the client.
2. Every lawyer at Rassers will ensure that complaints are handled in accordance with the office complaints procedure.
Article 3 object
The object of this office complaints procedure is:
a. to lay down a procedure for constructively handling client complaints within a reasonable timeframe;
b. to lay down a procedure for identifying the cause of client complaints;
c. to maintain and improve current relationships through proper complaint handling;
d. to train staff in giving a client-focused response to complaints;
e. to improve the quality of services through complaint handling and analysis.
Article 4 information upon commencement of services
1. This office complaints procedure has been made public. Prior to entering into the engagement letter, the lawyer will inform the client that the firm has an office complaints procedure in place that applies to the services to be rendered.
2. In its general terms and conditions, Rassers Advocaten has specified the independent party or authority to which a client may submit a complaint that has not been resolved after handling in order to obtain a binding opinion, and will inform the client of this with the confirmation of engagement.
3. Complaints as referred to in Article 1 of this office complaints procedure that have not been resolved after handling will be submitted to the District Court of Zeeland-West-Brabant, hearing location Breda.
Article 5 internal complaints procedure
1. If a client contacts the firm with a complaint, the complaint will be referred to mr. M.B.A. Alkema, who will act as complaints officer in that regard.
2. The complaints officer will notify the person against whom the complaint was made of this complaint and will give this person and the complainant an opportunity to elaborate on the complaint.
3. The person against whom the complaint was made will endeavour to reach a solution together with the client, whether or not with the intervention of the complaints officer.
4. The complaints officer will handle the complaint within a month of its receipt or, stating reasons, will inform the complainant that a different handling period will apply, specifying this new period within which an opinion on the complaint will be given.
5. The complaints officer will notify the complainant and the person against whom the complaint was made in writing of the opinion on the merits of the complaints, whether or not giving recommendations as well.
6. If the complaint has been handled satisfactorily, the complainant, the complaints officer and the person against whom the complaint was made will sign the opinion on the merits of the complaint.
Article 6 confidentiality and complaints handling free of charge
1. The complaints officer and the person against whom the complaint was made will observe confidentiality when handling the complaint.
2. The complainant will not owe any fee for the costs of handling the complaint.
Article 7 responsibilities
1. The complaints officer is responsible for handling the complaint in a timely fashion.
2. The person against whom the complaint was made will keep the complaints officer abreast of any contact and a possible solution.
3. The complaints officer will keep the complainant abreast of the handling of the complaint.
4. The complaints officer will keep the complaint file up to date.
Article 8 complaint registration
1. The complaints officer will register the complaint along with the subject of the complaint.
2. A complaint may be categorised according to multiple subjects.
3. The complaints officer will periodically report on the handling of complaints and will make recommendations on how to prevent new complaints and how to improve procedures.
4. At least once every year, the reports and the recommendations will be discussed and presented for decision making at the firm.
This office complaints procedure takes effect on 1 November 2018 and supersedes the office complaints procedure as it read before that date.