Too many English people think that some great formality is involved in registering a complaint and that the only way to complain effectively and to get a result is to do so via a solicitor.  This is absolutely not the case and although you may need legal assistance at some point there are lots of reasons not to rush down the legal route.
  • For starters, solicitors are very expensive.  A decent lawyer will cost several hundreds or pounds per hour and you’ll be amazed at how quickly the hours clock up.
  • Be wary of using a solicitor unless you do so on strong recommendation.  Many high street solicitors have quite limited skills and others are simply not very good despite being expensive.
  • Although you may well need specialist legal advice for a specific technical issue such as a property problem or an employment issue, a more general complaint such as a consumer gripe is easier to deal with.
  • There are excellent legal resources online available to help ordinary people formulate correspondence and claims based on proper legal principles such as consumer law.  With a bit of research it is not difficult to bone up on say the Sale of Goods Act or the Consumer Protection Act.
  • Before using a solicitor it is always good to see what you can achieve without one and at no expense.  Although a solicitor’s letter on headed notepaper carries more weight there is nothing to stop you composing your own letter in your own words as a prelude.  You can conclude your letter by saying that unless you receive a satisfactory response you will refer the matter to your solicitors.  That may produce a result.
  • The small claims court procedure is there for ordinary people and you do not need a solicitor at all to follow it.  The process is easy, relaxed, informal and designed for non-lawyers.  It can only generally be used for claims under £5000.  The advantage of doing it yourself is that you have control over the whole process rather than delegating it to an expensive lawyer.  Moreover, you cannot recover the cost of the lawyer for such claims so if you do emply one, the cost of doing so could easily outstrip the value of the claim.  Be brave and do not get fazed.