Article 1. Definitions
The following definitions apply in this office complaints protocol:
- Complaint: any statement in writing from or on behalf of the client expressing dissatisfaction with a lawyer/tax expert, or persons working under their responsibility, with regard to the preparation and execution of a letter of engagement to perform services, the quality of the service or the amount invoiced, other than a complaint as defined in Section 4 of the Counsel Act;
- Complainant: the client, or their representative, that reports a complaint;
- Complaints officer: the lawyer/tax expert dealing with the complaint who is a partner at Ekelmans Advocaten NV (Ekelmans Advocaten) or, if the complaint concerns a person who is not a partner, the partner who manages that person; Ekelmans Advocaten can decide to appoint another lawyer as the complaints officer.
Article 2. Scope
- This complaints protocol applies to every letter of engagement to perform services concluded between Ekelmans Advocaten and the client.
- Every lawyer/tax expert at Ekelmans Advocaten sees to it that complaints are handled in accordance with the office complaints protocol.
Article 3. Purpose
The purpose of this complaints protocol is:
- to set out a procedure for dealing with complaints by clients within a reasonable period and in a constructive manner;
- to set out a procedure for determining the causes of complaints by clients;
- to maintain and improve existing relations by dealing with complaints properly;
- to train staff in responding to complaints in a customer-friendly manner;
- to use the handling and analysis of complaints to improve the quality of our service.
Article 4. Information on commencement of the service
- This office complaints protocol has been published. Before the letter of engagement to perform services is concluded, the lawyer/tax expert points out to the client that the firm has an office complaints protocol and that this protocol applies to the service in question.
- Complaints as defined in Article 1 of this office complaints protocol that have not been resolved after being handled will be brought before the law courts.
Article 5. Internal complaints procedure
- If a client approaches the firm with a complaint, the complaint is passed on to a lawyer who is a member of the complaints handling committee and who then acts as the complaints officer.
- The complaints officer informs the person who is the subject of the complaint that this complaint has been submitted and gives the complainant and the subject of the complaint the opportunity to provide further information about the complaint.
- The subject of the complaint attempts to find a solution together with the client, with or without the mediation of the complaints officer.
- The complaints officer deals with the complaint within four weeks of the receipt of the complaint, or informs the complainant of any deviation from this deadline, giving reasons and stating the period within which an assessment of the complaint will be given.
- The complaints officer informs the complainant and the subject of the complaint in writing of the assessment regarding the validity of the complaint, with or without recommendations.
- If the complaint has not been dealt with to the satisfaction of the client, the client can submit the complaint to the competent court.
Article 6. Confidentiality and dealing with complaints free of charge
- The complaints officer and the subject of the complaint will observe confidentiality when dealing with the complaint.
- The complainant is not liable for fees for the costs incurred by the complaints officer handling the complaint.
Article 7. Responsibilities
- The complaints officer is responsible for dealing with the complaint in good time.
- The subject of the complaint keeps the complaints officer informed of any contact and possible solutions.
- The complaints officer keeps the complainant informed of progress in the handling of the complaint.
- The complaints officer keeps the complaint file up to date.
Article 8. Recording complaints
- The complaints officer records the complaint, including the complaint topic.
- A complaint can cover multiple topics.
- The complaints officer regularly reports on the handling of complaints and makes recommendations for preventing new complaints and improving procedures.
- The reports and recommendations are discussed within the firm and submitted for decision-making at least once a year.