1. Our policy
Our aim is to give all our clients the best possible service, however we recognise that there may be occasions when, for whatever reason, we do not always meet expectations and that complaints may arise as a consequence. When this occurs we have a procedure in place for investigating complaints and, so far as possible, resolving them to our clients' satisfaction. We review our procedure periodically, to ensure that it meets the requirements of changing circumstances, and we rely on the results of our investigations to show us how we can best improve our services and reduce the risk of future complaints.
2. Who can complain
We accept complaints from anyone who is a client of Chambers, or has an issue relating to the conduct of any of our barristers. Clients include (but are not limited to):
(a) Solicitors who have instructed a barrister in these Chambers;
(b) Intermediaries who have instructed a barrister under the Licensed Access Rules;
(c) members of the public for whom a barrister in these Chambers has acted.
If you are a member of the public who is unhappy with the services provided for you by a barrister in these Chambers you can complain directly to us; there is no need for you to go through a Solicitor.
3. When to complain
All complaints must be received within 12 months of the act or conduct complained of.
4. How to make a complaint
We will accept a complaint in whatever form is most convenient for you. You can complain by:
(a) letter addressed to the Complaints Officer at the Chambers address;
(b) telephone to 0151 236 4421;
(c) fax addressed to the Complaints Officer on 0151 236 1559;
(d) e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whichever way you contact us, if you explain that you want to make a complaint our staff will ensure that the Complaints Procedure is operated.
5. How the procedure works
We have a Complaints Officer, who is a barrister in these Chambers with responsibility for ensuring that the Complaints Procedure operates satisfactorily. Most complaints are investigated by the Complaints Officer, although in exceptional circumstances the Chambers Management Committee may appoint some other barrister to carry out the investigation.
When you tell Chambers that you wish to make a complaint the Complaints officer will be told about it and given any details of your complaint which you have supplied.
The Complaints Officer will write to you within 7 days, acknowledging receipt of your complaint, asking for further information needed to process it, and explaining the steps that will be taken to investigate it.
The Complaints Officer will carry out a full investigation into your complaint, getting any necessary information from you, from the person complained about and from any other person involved. All aspects of the complaint will be considered to ensure it is dealt with to your satisfaction and the root cause of the complaint is properly identified. If the investigation is lengthy the Complaints Officer will keep you informed as to its progress.
Once the investigation has been completed the Complaints Officer will write to tell you whether your complaint has been found to be justified. If it has been found to be justified, you will be told what action will be taken to put matters right. If it has been found not to be justified you will be told the reason for this.
6. Records of complaint
Written records are kept of all complaints, including all communications and documents produced during the course of the investigation.
These records are confidential, and will only be disclosed (with adequate safeguards to preserve confidentiality so far as possible) for the purpose of (i) investigation of the complaint, (ii) internal Chambers review to assist in improving standards, and (iii) to comply with any requirement of the Bar Standards Board.
7. Complaining to the Bar Standards Board or Legal Ombudsman
There are two regulatory bodies that deal with complaints against barristers.
The Bar Standards Board will deal with complaints relating to the conduct of a barrister. You have the right to complain directly to the BSB, however they encourage the use of Chambers Complaints Procedure first. You will not suffer any disadvantage from using our Complaints Procedure frst. If you are not happy with the way we deal with your complaint you can refer the matter to the BSB at that stage. Please note the time limit for informing the BSB of any complaint is 12 months from the event complained of, or 3 months after you have been told of the result of your complaint to Chambers.
Complaints Department, Bar Standards Board
289-293 High Holborn,
Tel: 0207 611 1444
Fax: 0207 831 9217
The Legal Ombudsman will deal with the complaints relating to the service provided by a barrister. Please note that usually the Ombudsman is not able to consider your complaint until it has first been investigated by Chambers. The Ombudsman will accept complaints within 6 years from the date of the complained of act or omission or 3 years from when the complainant should have known about the complaint.
PO Box 6806
Tel: 0300 555 0333
8. Further information
If you would like any further information please contact us as suggested in paragrah 3 above.