Status of Complaint

I'll note all the responses I get with relation to this complaint about Thomas Eggar LLP to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Current Status:
1st July 2013: The SRA has confirmed that it will not investigate my complaint.

This is the timeline so far...

14th November 2012
Complaint sent to Thomas Eggar LLP. Their complaints handling proceedure is published here. As can be seen, the procedure is that complaints are acknowledged within three days and responded to in full in 28 days.

19th November 2012
Three working days have passed and no response from Thomas Eggar LLP, contrary to their own complaints handling procedure.

14th December 2012. 15:27
30 days since presenting Thomas Eggar with a formal complaint. No response so I sent a little chase-up email...

...then 37 minutes later...
I received a hastily written note from Jacqueline Searle, Risk and Compliance Manager (Solicitor) for and behalf of Thomas Eggar LLP. Here is a link to it.

Comment: I don't think Thomas Eggar LLP bothered to investigate my complaint at all and appear not to consider themselves to be accountable for their own actions. 

17th December 2012.
Official complaint about Geoffrey Harrington and Malcolm Worrell of Thomas Eggar LLP sent to The Solicitors Regulation Authority for their consideration.

16th January 2013.
Things haven't got off to a good start. It's been a month since I sent my complaint but I've had no response or acknowledgement from the SRA after sending my complaint to their required email address. I have sent a chasing email today to see if they received my complaint....

28th January 2013.
I have received a response from the SRA to my question as to whether they had received my complaint against Thomas Eggar LLP.  Their response told me what the SRA does and how to make a complaint. GRRRRR. I have responded asking them again to confirm receipt of my complaint.

7th February 2013
An email was received today from the SRA. It appears that my complaint was blocked by the SRA servers because it contained "profanity". This turns out to be a reference to page 6 of my evidence bundle which quotes an online webpage authored by one "Anus Mcphanus". It would seem that the SRA's desire to protect its staff from the unfortunate name of this author out-ranks my need for justice! Anyway, I have added a "g" to Angus' name and have re-sent my complaint. Let's see what happens now...

11th February 2013
Today I received a stock letter from the SRA acknowledging receipt of my complaint of the 17th December 2012. I look forward to hearing about their progress.

14th March 2013
Nothing yet....

14th May 2013
Nothing yet...

24th May 2013
I have received an email from the SRA confirming that my complaint against Thomas Eggar LLP has been "reviewed". Here is a link to the full email. The email breaks down my nine complaints into four key areas which the sender, Mr Ian Roberts assures me will be "thoroughly considered and will be discussed with the firm if necessary". However, it goes on to state that the SRA does not "routinely involve and update  those who make reports". This would mean that I, as the complainant, would have no knowledge as to whether an investigation is carried out and if it is, what the outcome is. I don't think this would be acceptable to any complainant so I will write to the SRA and insist on updates.

22nd June 2013
I finally got around to asking Mr Roberts (as above) if he would kindly keep me updated about my complaint. I also advised him about this blog and that I would like to keep it updated accordingly.

24th June 2013
I received an intriguing response from Mr Roberts saying that my email requesting to be kept up to date with the result of my complaint, had in fact been referred to the complaints department of the SRA.

1st July 2013
I have received a response to the complaint about the SRA that I didn't in fact make! The bottom line is that it confirms that the SRA will not investigate my complaint about Thomas Eggar LLP. The SRA state that they are not a "complaints handler" and so do not investigate every complaint. In fact they admit that "formal investigations are not usually triggered by single reports". Their full response can be downloaded .here.


  1. Here is what the SRA said when I advised them of several matters related to how a firm of solicitors had behaved and other matters. As you can see its not going to be easy, but I shall not give up and I urge you to continue to press the SRA. You may need to complain about SRA's own complaints procedure, perhaps through your MP. I also may start my own blog or website about this organisation.

    Here is what the SRA said to me in response:

    The SRA is a risk-based regulator, which means that we focus our work and spend most of our resources dealing with those firms and behaviour that pose the greatest risk to the public. We record all the information reported to us (including any information referred to us from the Legal Ombudsman), which allows us to build a picture of the level of risk posed by different regulated individuals. When we decide to take regulatory action against a particular individual, this is usually on the basis of several different pieces of information rather than on the basis of a single report. If we consider that the information you have provided, alongside any other information we may hold, means that we should make further enquiries or take action, I can assure you that we will do so.

    We regret that we do not provide updates on our enquiries, partly because our enquiries may include confidential information but also because we try to devote our limited resources to taking the actions necessary to protect the public. However, when we do take formal action, the results are usually published on our website.

    I confirm that as outlined above, we are unable to provide you with any information in relation to the enquiries we are making or the outcome of our investigation.

  2. Although SRA is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act, they do claim to act as though they were. You can ask them a question under the FoIA at this excellent website and we can all see the question and their answer.

  3. Don't go to the SRA, go to The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal under The Solicitors (Disciplinary Proceedings) Rules 2007. At it says 'If an application under Rule 5 is made to the Tribunal by an individual, the Tribunal may refer the application to an appropriate body for investigation.' Don't be fooled by this; under rule 20 of the Rules the application can only be adjourned for 3 months. The SDT has to resume considering the application after 3 months. This is a judicial process so you can appeal from the Tribunal to the High Court (Admin Court).

  4. How can a complaint ever be resolved with no resolution?

    We complained about a solicitor that dealt directly with 300 buyers + who all thought and were told that this solicitor was acting for us all. ( the story is in the huge numbers )

    Promises were not completed, no purchases took place and it equated to a 12 million pound fraud, involving all walks of society.

    Protect the public? This firm continues to help rip people off by acting for the scammers! How naive or blind are the SRA.

  5. Hi, Please don't give up with your complaint about the lawyers and the SRA.

    The SRA is a very unhelpful organisation and my experience is similar to your own and your first respondent on 7th Feb 2013

    I was appalled at how a firm of solicitors had acted (they failed to make a proper search for a missing will beneficiary, farming the job out to a "tracing agency"(now out of business) and not even getting a written report of what searches had been made in France. When they could not find the missing person the solicitors cosily gave the legacy to the Solicitors Benevolent Society, a charity which specifically benefits ( wait for it !) solicitors.

    I complained to the legal Ombudsman about the firm, ( waste of time...executors are not covered by Legal Ombudsman !) and wrote to the SRA pointing out area of bad practice and ethics which the profession (via the SRA) needs to address. Result a standard letter from an Administration Officer, which was completely unsuitable for my complaint and referred to a different situation completely, it was as though the response had been sent without the complaint being read by anyone. Basically... we may look into your complaint, or may not. If we do we may take action or may not...if we do we won't tell you what action we take and we won't contact you again with any updates or information at all. I asked for a proper response to at least show that someone had read my letter. After 3 requests and a 3 month wait a reply was eventually change. We will keep your letter on record, goodbye. At least it was a proper letter written by a human being but it said nothing about my complaint or what the SRA would do.

    I see your comment of 24 May 2013 and the SRA response letter. Looks like another standard letter to me, with 4 points added in at the top to make it look personal. "thoroughly considered and will be discussed with the firm if necessary". Don't wait up !

    The SRA is part of the Law Society which says its purpose is "to help, protect and promote solicitors across England and Wales". No doubt the SRA acts independently, but I suspect most ordinary people find this a strange arrangement, indeed, One industry insider I discussed this with said:
    "I empathise with any feelings of frustration you might have towards the SRA. There are many solicitors who are deeply unhappy about what they see as its impenetrability"

    Whilst the SRA pumps out its standard letter responses, containing its list of things it won't do, and declining to keep complainants informed of what happens to their complaints, it will be difficult for ordinary people to see it as a credible regulator.

  6. Oh dear.........not looking good for me either then!!!!!!!!

    Ombudsman tells me they only deal with "poor service" and SRA deals with "misconduct, bad practice & ethics"

    I have been waiting 6 months for Ombudsman's report to see which issues within my complaint they actually address before taking the remainder to the SRA including lying / slander to the Ombudsman in their replies to them and an unenforceable Court Order in my favour (all provable by documentation).

    So it looks like I will be wasting many more hours but at least their apathy won't come as a surprise to me!!!!!!!!

  7. I tried to complain to the SRA and then the ICRS about exactly the same thing, the SRA did not aknowledge my complaint and simply sent a template letter that stated they will not investigate my complaint of dishonesty. Here is an extract from a response by the ICRS to my complaint about the SRA:

    "First, I would agree with you that the SRA website clearly commits the SRA to taking cases of dishonesty very seriously. Indeed I note that it specifically says 'We do not tolerate dishonesty within the profession we regulate' and 'We treat any form of dishonesty seriously.' The clear implication is that the SRA will apply severe sanctions when it finds a firm or an individual guilty of dishonesty. However, I can find nothing to indicate that there is a duty on the SRA to investigate every allegation involving dishonesty, nor to indicate that the SRA undertakes to take action in relation to every report of dishonesty that it receives. In fact it seems to me that it would be unwise for it to make such an undertaking, as this would give solicitors no protection from malicious and unfounded reports. That is not, of course, to say that your report amounted to such a report. Simply that it is for the SRA to reach its own decision, based on its own judgment, as to whether any report of any nature warrants further investigation. In fact I note that what the SRA website actually says is “We will always consider allegations of dishonesty” (my emphasis). I do not see that statement as an undertaking always to investigate any such allegations."

    Simply put, the SRA can't be bothered dealing with your issue and the ICRS are in bed with them anyway. It seems to me that solicitors, Ombudsman, SRA and ICRS are all in each others pockets and close ranks when a complaint is made by the general public.