Our staff are working remotely from home so please do not post anything to the office, until further notice. If possible, customers are advised to email [email protected] if they require advice or support. Alternatively, our call handlers are available to assist from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.  Please note that for some schemes that there may be delays in the processing and resolution of cases. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.

What is the Independent Complaints Review Service for the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)?

The Independent Complaints Review Service (ICRS), operated by CEDR Services Ltd, forms part of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA’s) approach to handling complaints about the SRA’s work. The ICRS does not review or investigate any complaints about alleged solicitor misconduct or the SRA’s position on a matter. Rather the ICRS can only consider the quality of service provided by the SRA in their stage 1 and stage 2 complaint responses.

This service is free to users and as such the SRA pay CEDR to conduct this complaints review work. Once CEDR finalise their review, the matter is closed with no further reviews or appeals available under any circumstances.

We provide a final independent response for those complaints about the SRA’s complaint handling that cannot be resolved internally (at stage 1 and stage 2).  Once a response is available it is final and not subject to any appeal or review.

We also provide independent oversight of the way that the SRA carries out its complaints handling functions – we do this by conducting an independent audit of SRA’s complaints handling

Please note that as part of this service we do not overturn or change any decision made by the SRA. If that is what you are seeking, please use another forum for this. The ICRS only considers the quality of service provided by the SRA in their stage 1 and stage 2 complaint responses.

For those cases that the Independent Complaints Reviewer decides are appropriate for review, they will conduct a review of the papers to consider whether:

  • the investigation conducted by the SRA was thorough and fair
  • all the relevant facts were taken into account by the SRA
  • the conclusions reached (in respect of complaints about the service provided by the SRA) were reasonable and properly explained; and
  • the investigation of the complaints about the SRA’s handling of the case was efficient and without any unnecessary delay.

In terms of the process, a customer submits their completed Application Form, CEDR check that the SRA has completed their internal review stages (1 and 2) and the documents are sent to the Independent Complaints Reviewer. The SRA do not see your completed Application Form as responses from the customer and SRA are sent directly to the Independent Complaints Reviewer. Customers need to provide as much information as possible regarding their complaint about the SRA’s complaint handling.

Where a complaint about the SRA’s handling of the matter has been upheld or partially upheld by the Independent Complaints Reviewer, they will provide a written response for any poor service and may recommend the SRA to provide one or more of the following remedies:

  • an apology
  • appropriate action to rectify the situation for the complainant, such as an extension of time to respond to a deadline
  • appropriate action to improve the SRA's complaint handling practices or procedures
  • an ex gratia payment made in line with SRA's Special Payments Guide.

*Please note that the above are recommendations and in some instances the SRA can decline to implement the recommendations..

The steps you must take before submitting a complaint

Step 1.

Customer raises a complaint with SRA in the first instance (for more information on their complaint process, please click here . Please note that this is a two stage process and we cannot accept a case if you haven’t been through both stages. Following SRA’s final stage 2 response, you have 20 working days to come to CEDR.

Step 2.

If a complaint is referred to CEDR for independent complaints review,  we will first confirm with the SRA that you have gone through their 2 internal stages. This is usually done within 5 working days. If eligible, we will then send you an Application Form for you to complete and return to CEDR. This form is also accessible via our website. Please provide as much information as possible with your Application Form as it is your responsibility to outline and evidence your complaint about the SRA. CEDR do not request information on your behalf.

Step 3.

Once we receive all the information from yourself and the SRA, we will aim to have a final written response provided within a further 25 working days.  Please note, that in some instances, due to the nature and complexity of some of these matters, a final response may not be available until  after 30 working days has passed. Once a final written response is published, the matter is closed with no appeals.

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