1. We aim to provide all lay and professional clients a good service at all times. However, in the event that you are dissatisfied with the treatment you have received from a barrister or a member of our staff, we wish to provide a remedy.
What should I do if I have a complaint?
2. Initially, you should contact the person responsible, by telephone, if possible, because your complaint may have arisen from a misunderstanding, which could be resolved informally and without the need for you to resort to our full complaints procedure. If you think the matter cannot be resolved to your satisfaction in this informal way, then you can make a formal complaint to the Head of Chambers.
What is the complaint’s procedure?
3. You should make your complaint to us, in writing, by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. You should address you letter or email to the Head of Chambers and provide the following details: your name and address, contact details, identify which barrister(s) or member of staff you are complaining about, set out the details of your complaint, and indicate what you would like done about it.
5. If you consider yourself to have a disability which affects your ability to formulate or pursue a complaint, please let us know and we will discuss alternative arrangements with you.
6. The Head of Chambers will determine what has gone wrong. If the matter raises issues which, in the opinion of the Head of Chambers, requires an investigation to determine the facts, he will conduct the investigation himself or appoint another suitable member of chambers to investigate the complaint.
7. You should receive an acknowledgement of your complaint and details of who will be investigating your complaint in writing within 5 working days of receipt.
8. The investigator can ask the person against whom the complaint to make representations, can access all the relevant documents, may invite witnesses for an interview, and may need to contact you for further information.
9. The Head of Chambers or the investigator will then produce a report based on what has been supplied as soon as possible, ordinarily within 14 days of the receipt of the complaint. If it is not possible to meet this deadline, the Head of Chambers will write to you to let you know when the investigation is expected to be concluded.
10. The Head of Chambers will consider the report and write to you, setting out the nature of the investigation. He will inform you whether he upholds the complaint or rejects it, setting out the reasons why. When a complaint is upheld, the letter will set out or include a proposal for resolving the complaint.
11. All documents, conversations, and records relating to the complaint will be treated confidentially and retained for 6 years. They will only be disclosed as necessary: normally only to the person complained about, the investigator and (in response to a specific request) the Bar Standards Board or Legal Ombudsman.
Management of client services
12. To ensure we provide our clients with the best possible service at all times, we keep a record of all complaints made and the outcomes. Our Management Committee may inspect this record to ensure compliance with our procedure and with a view to improving the service we provide. Our record of complaints is also available to the Bar Standards Board in the exercise of its monitoring or auditing functions.
Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman
13. The Ombudsman is not able to consider your complaint until it has firstly been made to Chambers under the above procedure.
14. Please note that you can pursue your complaint with the Legal Ombudsman if you are dissatisfied with the outcome of our handling of your complaint after 8 weeks of your complaint being made to chambers. If you wish to pursue your complaint with the Legal Ombudsman following our written response to your complaint, then you should do so within 6 months of the date of our written response.
15. There are additional time limits. The Legal Ombudsman will accept complaints up to 6 years from the date of act/omission, or three years from when you should have known about the complaint.
16. The Legal Ombudsman can be contacted on 0300 555 0333. If you are calling from overseas, then please call +44 121 245 3050.
Alternatively you can write to:
PO Box 6806
Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
Email at email@example.com
If you want to find out more about the Legal Ombudsman and what they do, please visit www.legalombudsman.org.uk