1.1 The terms used in this Complaints Procedure are defined as follows:
Complaint: any written expression of dissatisfaction by or on behalf of the client towards the lawyer / civil-law notary, or the individuals employed subject to his/her responsibility, in relation to the formation and performance of a letter of engagement, the quality of services or the amount of the fee note, submitted following an unsatisfactory discussion of the matter at hand with the lawyer / civil-law notary assigned to the case, which Complaint will not be a disciplinary complaint as referred to in Subsection 4 of the Act on Advocates (Advocatenwet) or Section 99 of the Civil-Law Notaries Act (Wet op het notarisambt);
Complaints Officer: the lawyer / civil-law notary who is responsible for handling a Complaint; and
Complainant: the client, or his/her/its representative, that notifies BarentsKrans Coöperatief U.A. (hereinafter referred to as ‘BarentsKrans’) of a Complaint.
2 Scope of application
2.1 This Complaints Procedure applies to every engagement for services that is entered into between BarentsKrans as the party accepting the engagement and the client as the party issuing the engagement.
2.2 Every lawyer / civil-law notary at BarentsKrans will ensure that Complaints are handled in accordance with the Complaints Procedure.
2.3 The Complaints Procedure also applies to the individuals employed subject to the responsibility of the lawyer / civil-law notary.
3.1 The objects of this Complaints Procedure are:
a. to set out a procedure for handling Complaints filed by clients within a reasonable period and in a constructive manner;
b. to set out a procedure for determining the causes of Complaints filed by clients;
c. to maintain and improve existing relationships through sound Complaints handling;
d. to train staff to respond to Complaints in a client-focused manner; and
e. to improve the quality of our services through Complaints handling and analysis.
4 Information upon the commen-cement of service provision
4.1 This Complaints Procedure has been brought into the public domain. Before entering into a letter of engagement, the lawyer / civil-law notary will inform the client that BarentsKrans operates a Complaints Procedure and that this procedure applies to its services.
4.2 Any and all Complaints about a lawyer, as referred to in Article 1.1 of this Complaints Procedure, that have not been resolved after completing the Complaints Procedure will be submitted to the competent Dutch civil court in The Hague. BarentsKrans also has the right to make an application to the district court in the place where the Complainant has his/her/its place of business or residence.
4.3 Complaints about a civil-law notary, as referred to in Article 1.1 of this Complaints Procedure, that have not been resolved after completing the Complaints Procedure will be submitted to the Disputes Committee for the Notarial Profession (see www.knb.nl and www.degeschillencommissie.nl). Any and all Complaints that the Disputes Committee are unable to resolve will be submitted to the competent Dutch civil court in The Hague. BarentsKrans also has the right to make an application to the district court in the place where the Complainant has his/her/its place of business or residence.
5 Internal Complaints Procedure
5.1 A Complaint that a client or his/her/its representative submits to BarentsKrans, whether or not via e-mail address email@example.com, will be passed on to the lawyer / civil-law notary at BarentsKrans who is responsible for the implementation of this internal Complaints Procedure, acting in his/her capacity as the Complaints Officer.
5.2 To enable a Complaint to be assessed with the minimum of delay, the Complainant will be required to provide the following information when submitting a Complaint:
- His/her/its name, e-mail address and telephone number;
- The name and number of the BarentsKrans file;
- The date on which the Complainant sent the Complaint;
- A clear description of the Complaint;
- Copies of documents that clarify the Complaint.
5.3 The Complaints Officer will notify the individual about whom a Complaint has been made of the Complaint submitted and will give the Complainant and the individual against whom the Complaint has been made the opportunity to explain the nature of the Complaint.
5.4 The individual about whom a Complaint has been made will endeavour to work with the Complainant to achieve a solution, whether or not with the mediation of the Complaints Officer.
5.5 The Complaints Officer will handle a Complaint within one month of the date on which the Complaint is received or will provide the Complainant with a reasoned notification of any deviation from this period of time, stating the period of time in which a decision will be made on the Complaint.
5.6 The Complaints Officer will notify the Complainant and the individual against whom a Complaint has been made in writing of his/her opinion on the merits of the Complaint (or the lack thereof), whether or not accompanied by recommendations.
6 Confidentiality and Complaint handling free of charge
6.1 The Complaints Officer, any individual or individuals that the Complaints Officer involves in the handling of a Complaint and the individual against whom the Complaint has been made will maintain confidentiality, except where Article 8.2 is the case.
6.2 The Complainant will not be required to pay any costs for the handling of his/her/its Complaint.
7.1 The Complaints Officer will be responsible for the prompt handling of a Complaint.
7.2 The individual against whom a Complaint has been made will keep the Complaints Officer up-to-date on any contacts and any possible solution.
7.3 The Complaints Officer will keep the Complainant informed of the handling of the Complaint.
7.4 The Complaints Officer will ensure that the Complaint file is kept up to date.
8 Complaint registration
8.1 The Complaints Officer will keep an up-to-date overview of all of the Complaints received; he/she will also include the subject of every Complaint. A Complaint can be broken down into a number of topics.
8.2 The Complaints Officer will report regularly on the handling of Complaints to the Board at BarentsKrans and make recommendations aimed at avoiding new Complaints and improving procedures