“To provide professional legal services in a friendly environment at a fair cost”
Martin Shepherd continually strives to provide the highest quality of legal services to its clients, both private individuals and businesses.
We are committed to:
• understanding each client’s individual needs;
• offering a tailor made service;
• providing clear information regarding costs;
• being open and honest;
• providing straightforward advice;
• keeping our clients updated throughout the life of their matter;
• being available to deal with urgent matters and respond to enquiries in a timely manner;
• maintaining client confidentiality in accordance with legislation;
• protecting and storing our client’s personal data securely;
• valuing the relationship we have with each of our clients;
• handling any concerns or complaints fairly (please see below).
Martin Shepherd wants to attract and retain the best possible talent in order to meet the needs of its clients.
To achieve this, we:
• have a policy of open and fair recruitment;
• identify the requirements of each individual role within the organisation;
• offer a salary and benefits package commensurate with each position;
• provide training and career development opportunities for all members of the team;
• understand each of our employees’ individual needs outside their working life.
Our Equality Policy:
Martin Shepherd Solicitors LLP (the Firm) is committed to encouraging equality and diversity among our workforce, and eliminating unlawful discrimination.
The aim is for our workforce to be truly representative of all sections of society and our customers, and for each employee to feel respected and able to give their best.
The Firm, in providing services, is also committed against unlawful discrimination of its clients and the public.
The policy’s purpose is to:
• provide equality, fairness and respect for all in our employment, whether temporary, part-time or full-time;
• not unlawfully discriminate because of the Equality Act 2010 protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race (including colour, nationality, and ethnic or national origin), religion or belief, sex (gender) and sexual orientation;
• oppose and avoid all forms of unlawful discrimination. This includes in pay and benefits, terms and conditions of employment, dealing with grievances and discipline, dismissal, redundancy, leave for parents, requests for flexible working, and selection for employment, promotion, training or other developmental opportunities.
The organisation commits to:
• encourage equality and diversity in the workplace as they are good practice and make business sense;
• create a working environment free of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination, promoting dignity and respect for all, and where individual differences and the contributions of all staff are recognised and valued;
• This commitment includes training managers and all other employees about their rights and responsibilities under the equality policy. Responsibilities include staff conducting themselves to help the organisation provide equal opportunities in employment, and prevent bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination;
• All staff should understand they, as well as their employer, can be held liable for acts of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination, in the course of their employment, against fellow employees, clients, suppliers and the public;
• take seriously complaints of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination by fellow employees, clients, suppliers, visitors, the public and any others in the course of the organisation’s work activities. Such acts will be dealt with as misconduct under the organisation’s grievance and/or disciplinary procedures, and any appropriate action will be taken. Particularly serious complaints could amount to gross misconduct and lead to dismissal without notice. Further, sexual harassment may amount to both an employment rights matter and a criminal matter, such as in sexual assault allegations. In addition, harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 – which is not limited to circumstances where harassment relates to a protected characteristic – is a criminal offence.
• make opportunities for training, development and progress available to all staff, who will be helped and encouraged to develop their full potential, so their talents and resources can be fully utilised to maximise the efficiency of the organisation;
• decisions concerning staff being based on merit (apart from in any necessary and limited exemptions and exceptions allowed under the Equality Act);
• review employment practices and procedures when necessary to ensure fairness, and also update them and the policy to take account of changes in the law;
• monitor the make-up of the workforce regarding information such as age, gender, ethnic background, sexual orientation, religion or belief, and disability in encouraging equality and diversity, and in meeting the aims and commitments set out in the equality policy. Monitoring will also include assessing how the equality policy, and any supporting action plan, are working in practice, reviewing them annually, and considering and taking action to address any issues.
We endeavour to minimise the impact of our operations on the environment by:
• complying with all relevant environmental legislation;
• minimising waste by streamlining processes and avoid using resources unnecessarily;
• actively promote recycling across the firm;
• source products and services from suppliers who have conscientious environmental policies.
Our Complaints Procedure:
We are committed to providing a high quality legal service and to dealing with all our clients fairly. We acknowledge that we may not always get it right so if something has gone wrong, including in relation to the bill, we ask that clients tell us.
If you have a complaint, please contact us and your complaint will be passed to our Complaints Manager.
The Complaints Manager is Antoinette Doyle at the Enfield office telephone 020 8367 3230 email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Will Happen Next?
• We will send you a letter acknowledging receipt of your complaint within 7 days of our receiving the complaint, enclosing a copy of this procedure.
• We will then investigate your complaint. This will normally involve passing your complaint to our client care Partner, Antoinette Doyle who will review your matter file and speak to the member of staff who acted for you.
• Antoinette Doyle will send you a detailed written reply to your complaint, including her suggestions for resolving the matter, within 28 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.
• At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, you should contact us again to explain why you remain unhappy with our response and we will review your comments. Depending on the matter we may at this stage arrange for another Partner to review the decision.
• We will write to you within 21 days of receiving your request for a review, confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons.
• If you are still not satisfied, you can then contact the Legal Ombudsman at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ or call 0300 555 0333 about your complaint. Any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within six months of your receiving a final written response from us regarding your complaint. The Legal Ombudsman has provided further guidance on its service at www.legalombudsman.org.uk.
• If the Legal Ombudsman thinks your case involves a breach of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) Principles, they will refer your case to the SRA.
• If you think we or anyone regulated by the SRA has breached an SRA Principle you can report that breach directly to the SRA.
• If we are unable to resolve your complaint, and it relates to a contract we entered into online or by other electronic means, you may also be able to submit your complaint to a certified alternative dispute resolution (ADR) provider in the UK via the EU ‘ODR platform’.
The ODR platform is an interactive website offering a single point of entry for disputes between consumers and traders relating to online contracts. The ODR platform is available to consumer clients only, ie where you have instructed us for purposes outside your trade, business, craft or profession.
The website address for the ODR platform is: http://ec.europa.eu/odr.
• If we have to change any of the timescales above, we will let you know and explain why.