Acceptable Behaviour Policy

Acceptable Behaviour Policy – Our commitment

1. Overview

1.1. At Battens Solicitors Limited we believe that our clients have a right to be heard, understood and respected

1.2. We also believe that our staff have the right to work in a safe environment, free from any abuse or harm caused by others

1.3. We expect all our clients to treat our staff with courtesy and respect at all times

1.4. We expect all of our staff to treat our clients with courtesy and respect at all times

1.5. Most complainants pursue any concerns they have with our service in a reasonable and acceptable manner often leading to a swift and positive outcome for all parties

1.6. In a small number of cases the actions of some clients become unacceptable because they involve abuse of our staff and/or our processes

1.7. We do not view an action as unacceptable just because the person is forceful or determined in their approach. However, we do consider actions that result in unreasonable demands and/or abusive behaviour to be unacceptable

1.8. There are a range of actions that we consider to be unacceptable which can be best grouped as follows:

  • Aggressive or abusive behaviour

  • Unreasonable demands and/or unreasonable levels of contact

2. Aggressive or abusive behaviour by clients

2.1. We understand that people can become angry in certain situations. This may be when they feel fearful, hurt, or powerless, they are under stress or are suffering from ill health or perhaps they may feel strongly that their concerns are not being dealt with as they wish. However, if that anger escalates into aggression or abuse towards our staff, we consider that unacceptable

2.2. Aggressive behaviour includes language (whether verbal or written) that may cause staff to feel afraid, threatened or abused. This may include shouting, swearing, threats, personal verbal abuse, inappropriate or discriminatory cultural, gender identity, disability, racial or religious references, derogatory remarks and rudeness. We also consider inflammatory statements and unsubstantiated allegations to be abusive behaviour

2.3. Where a client is aggressive or abusive, initially we may decide to:

  • Advise the client that we consider their actions offensive, unnecessary, and unhelpful and ask them to stop

  • End telephone calls/appointments/meetings

  • Terminate all direct contact with the client

3. Unreasonable demands and or/unreasonable levels of contact by clients

3.1. We understand that clients have high expectations of the level of service to be provided by us

3.2. However, in some cases client demands extend beyond what is acceptable to become unreasonable. A demand becomes unacceptable when it starts to impact excessively on the work of our staff or when dealing with those demands takes up a disproportionate amount of time which is not necessary to progress the matter and in so doing, disadvantages other clients

3.3. Where a client is unreasonably demanding, for example, by repeatedly contacting us in person, by phone, email etc, or contacting various staff about the same issue, raising the same issue repeatedly, or is persistent in their refusal to accept a decision or explanation, we may initially decide to:

  • Limit contact to telephone calls from the person at set times on set days

  • Restrict contact to a nominated member of staff who will deal with future calls or correspondence

  • See the person by appointment only

  • Restrict contact to written correspondence only

  • Refuse to deal with further correspondence and return any documents

  • Advise the client any further irrelevant documentation may be destroyed

4. How we will formally manage aggressive, abusive and unreasonable behaviour by clients

Written warning

4.1. In the event that initial modifications with the client have not led to a change of behaviour or where circumstances identify it as appropriate to do so, we will issue the client with a warning letter. For example, a warning letter may be issued for the following types of incidents but is not limited to:

  • Personal remarks

  • Derogatory comments

  • Swearing and/or shouting

  • Inability to accept a decision, and repeated requests for a review

  • Multiple requests for progress updates in an unacceptable time period

  • Any other incident that we feel is of a level to justify a warning letter

4.2. Warnings will be held in place on file and may be shared with other staff if the client is instructing us on multiple matters. Clients will be told in writing why a decision has been made, what the alternative arrangements will be and the length of time that restrictions will be in place. If this does not result in a sustained improvement in behaviour, or further incidents arise, we may consider terminating our relationship

Immediate Termination

4.3. There are times where a warning letter would not be suitable as we will be required to take further action to protect our staff. Battens Solicitors Limited has a zero tolerance to the following behaviours:

  • Threats of physical violence

  • Intimidating behaviour

If either of these behaviours are identified, our relationship with the client will come to an immediate end and the police will be informed

5. Our commitment to our clients

5.1. We will treat you with courtesy and politeness

5.2. We understand that your matter is important to you and will communicate with you clearly and with courtesy

5.3. If you are unhappy with our services please contact our Complaints Officer, Katherine Gilmour ( and our Management Support Officer (