In this complaints procedure, the terms below are defined as follows:
- Complaint: every written expression of dissatisfaction from or on behalf of the client with respect to the lawyer or the persons working under his or her responsibility, concerning the establishment and implementation of an engagement agreement, the quality of the services provided, or the amount of the invoice, not being a complaint as referred to in paragraph 4 of the Counsel Act (Advocatenwet).
- Complainant: the client or his representative that makes a complaint known.
- Complaints officer: the lawyer who is responsible for handling the complaint. The complaints officers are Ms A. Bekema and Mr J.S. Hofhuis.
- AC&R: AC&R B.V.
- Engagement agreement: actual assignment by the complainant to AC&R to provide one or more legal services.
02 Scope of Application
- This complaints procedure applies to every engagement agreement between AC&R and the client.
- Each lawyer of AC&R shall bear responsibility for the handling and resolution of a complaint in accordance with the law firm’s complaints procedure.
The objective of this complaints procedure is to:
- Establish and record a procedure for handling and resolving complaints from clients within a reasonable time frame in a constructive manner.
- Establish a procedure to determine the causes of complaints lodged by clients.
- Maintain and improve existing relationships through a good handling and resolution of complaints.
- Train employees to respond to complaints in a client-oriented manner.
- Improve the quality of the services provided through handling, resolving and analysing complaints.
04 Deadline for filing a complaint
The complaint should be filed within three months from the time the client became aware or could reasonably have become aware of the lawyer's action that gave rise to the complaint.
05 Information at the commencement of services
- This complaints procedure has been made public on our website: acr.amsterdam/en/complaints-procedure. Before concluding the engagement agreement, the lawyer shall inform the client that AC&R has a complaints procedure and that it applies to the services provided.
- A complaint may be submitted by mail or e-mail, accompanied by a statement of reasons and supporting documents.
06 Complaints procedure
- If a client approaches AC&R with a complaint, the complaint will be forwarded to Ms A. Bekema who serves as the firm’s complaints officer. If the complaint concerns her, or if she is not available, Mr J.S. Hofhuis will act as complaints officer.
- The complaints officer notifies the person about whom a complaint has been lodged of the filing of the complaint and gives the complainant and the person about whom a complaint has been lodged the opportunity to respond and to comment in writing to the complaint.
- The person about whom a complaint has been lodged and the client then try to reach a solution together, either with or without the mediation of the complaints officer.
- The complaints officer resolves the complaint within four weeks after receiving the complaint, or notifies the complainant that this period will be extended, giving the reason for this extension and the period within which an assessment of the complaint will be issued.
- A complaint may lead to the following judgments: grounded, partly grounded or ungrounded.
- The complaints officer notifies the complainant and the person about whom a complaint has been lodged in writing about the assessment of the complaint’s validity, if needed accompanied by recommendations.
- If the complaint is resolved to everyone’s satisfaction, then the complainant, the complaints officer and the person to whom a complaint has been lodged sign the assessment of the complaint’s validity.
- If a complaint is not resolved satisfactorily, the complaint may be submitted to the Disputes Board of Lawyers (Geschillencommissie Advocatuur).
07 Confidentiality and free handling of complaints
- The complaints officer and the person about whom a complaint has been lodged will keep the handling of the complaint strictly confidential.
- The complainant is not obliged to pay any compensation for the costs of handling the complaint.
- The complaints officer is responsible for resolving the complaint within the prescribed time.
- The complaints officer will keep the complainant informed about the handling of the complaint.
- The complaints officer will keep the complaints file up to date.
09 Registration of complaints and evaluation
- The complaints officer registers the complaint and the subject of the complaint.
- A complaint can be classified under several subject matters.
- At least once a year, the reports and the recommendations of the complaints officer are discussed internally at AC&R and presented for decision-making.