Complaints procedure

Complaints scheme

This office complaints scheme relates to the work and conduct of the lawyers who have offices in Haarlem at Kenaupark 19 (2011 MR).

The office complaints scheme describes the method of handling your complaint by the appointed complaints officer at Kenaupark 19. The complaints officer seeks the most appropriate solution for the complainant and the lawyer to the problem or dispute underlying the complaint.

This updated office complaint regulation is effective from 1 January 2024, replaces previous regulations in this regard and consists of the following provisions:

Article 1 - terms

In this office complaints scheme, the following terms (alphabetically) mean:

1. "the lawyer": the lawyer to whom the complaint relates;
2. "complaint": any written expression of dissatisfaction by or on behalf of the client towards the lawyer or the persons working under his responsibility regarding the conclusion and execution of a contract of engagement, the quality of services or the amount of the fee, not being a complaint as referred to in Section 46c of the Lawyers Act;
3. "complainant": the client or who makes a complaint known to the lawyer to whom the complaint relates or to the complaints officer. Complainant also means and includes his (legal) representative;
4. "complaints officer": the lawyer in charge of handling the complaint;
5. "the Bar Association" means the Council of the Bar Association in the district of Noord-Holland.

Article 2 - scope of application

1. This office complaint scheme applies to any agreement for services between the lawyer and the client.
2. The lawyer will ensure complaint handling in accordance with the office complaints scheme.

Article 3 - Objectives

The objectives of this office complaint procedure are:

1. to establish a procedure to handle client complaints within a reasonable period of time in an accessible and constructive manner;
2. the office complaints scheme aims to reach an out-of-court solution to the complaint between the complainant and the lawyer on the basis of informal consultation and the principle of hearing both sides of the argument;
3. establishing a procedure to determine the causes of client complaints;
4. maintaining and improving existing relationships through proper complaint handling;
5. training lawyers and persons working under its responsibility to respond to complaints in a client-oriented manner;
6. improving the quality of services by means of complaint handling and analysis.

Article 4 - information upon commencement of services

1. This office complaints procedure has been made public. Before entering into the engagement agreement, the lawyer informs the client that the firm has an office complaints procedure and that it applies to the services provided.
2. The lawyer has included in the engagement agreement and/or via the general terms and conditions the independent party or body to which a complaint that is not resolved after (internal) treatment can be submitted to obtain a binding decision and has made this known in the engagement confirmation.
3. Complainants other than the client will be sent the office complaints procedure, whether or not on request, immediately after receiving the complaint.

Article 5 - the internal complaint procedure

1. If a client approaches the office with a complaint, the complaint will be forwarded to the Complaints Officer, who is mentioned in the attached appendix or his replacement.
2. Complaints about a lawyer should be filed within a period of twelve (12) months after the act or omission of the lawyer that gave rise to the complaint, or within a period of twelve (12) months after the aforementioned act or omission of the lawyer became known to the complainant.
3. Complaints submitted later will only be considered if a reasoned explanation is given as to why this is excusable according to the complainant or if the complaints officer is of the opinion that this is desirable in the interest of adequate complaint handling.
4. The complaints officer will notify the person complained about of the filing of the complaint and give the complainant and the person complained about an opportunity to explain the complaint.
5. If the complaint is received through the Bar Association, the Bar Association will be informed periodically or at its request by the Complaints Officer about the course of the handling of the complaint and the resulting outcome.
6. The lawyer about whom a complaint has been made will try to reach a solution together with the client, whether or not after intervention of the complaints officer.
7. The complaints officer notifies the complainant and the lawyer in writing of his preliminary findings on the complaint, requesting them to respond.
8. Prior to dealing with the substance of the complaint, the complaints officer examines whether the complaint can be taken into consideration (is admissible), taking into account the period within which it was submitted, the person of the complainant, the person of the defendant and according to the nature of the complaint.
9. When dealing with the substance of the complaint, the complaints officer examines the complaint on the basis of underlying relevant documents, correspondence conducted and any interviews held to arrive at preliminary findings on the complaint. The preliminary findings are presented to the complainant and the lawyer with a request to respond to them and propose a desired solution(s) to the complaint.
10. On the basis of the parties' responses, the complaints officer will try whether the complaint can be resolved in a way they both want. If desired, he will mediate therein.
11. If the parties so wish, the complainant, the complaints officer and the lawyer sign the findings and any agreements made on the handling of the complaint.
12. The Complaints Officer will settle the complaint within four weeks after receipt of the complaint, unless the Complaints Officer notifies the complainant and the lawyer of the deviation from this term, stating the term within which the findings on the complaint will be given.

Article 6 - confidentiality and free complaint handling

1. The complaints officer and the person about whom a complaint has been made shall observe confidentiality in handling the complaint.
2. The complainant shall not be charged for the costs of handling the complaint.

Article 7 - Responsibilities

1. The complaints officer is responsible for the timely handling of the complaint.
2. The person complained about will keep the complaints officer informed about any contact with the complainant and a possible solution discussed between them.
3. The complaints officer keeps the complainant informed about the resolution of the complaint.
4. The complaints officer keeps the complaint file.

Article 8 - registration of complaints

1. The complaints officer registers the complaint, including the subject of the complaint.
2. A complaint may be divided into several (sub)subjects.
3. The complaints officer reports periodically on the handling of complaints and makes recommendations to prevent new complaints, as well as to improve procedures.
4. At least once a year (in February), complaints from the previous year are discussed at the office.

Article 9 - final provisions

1. In the event of matters not provided for in this office complaints scheme, the Complaints Officer shall decide in the spirit of this office complaints scheme.
2. This office complaints scheme shall be reviewed annually in February - or so much earlier if deemed desirable or necessary - and, if necessary, clarified or amended.

Appendix to the office complaints scheme Lawyers Kenaupark 19 in Haarlem

As from 1 January 2024, the following lawyers (in alphabetical order) have offices in Haarlem at Kenaupark 19 (2011 MR) and are subject to the aforementioned office complaints scheme:

1. M.A.M. (Margit) Ansink (also mediator) (1)
2. S. (Stacey) Biskanter
3. M. (Michel) de Klerk
4. J. (Jaelah) Kluivers
5. A.T. (Anthony) Leigh
6. S. (Suzanne) Wieberdink (also mediator)
7. T.J.J.M. (Theo) Wijngaard (2)
8. J.T. (Jos) Willemsen
9. R.R. (Robert) van Zuijlen

Within Kenaupark 19, two lawyers have been appointed as complaints officers who can replace each other in the event of absence or a conflict of interests (e.g. in the event of a complaint against the complaints officer in his role as lawyer).

The first point of contact for complaints is complaints officer M.A.M. Ansink (1) who can be replaced by the complaints officer T.J.J.M. Wijngaard (2) respectively.