COMPLAINTS HANDLING PROCEDURE
1. Our aim is to give you a good service at all times. However if you have a complaint you are invited to let us know as soon as possible. It is not necessary to involve solicitors in order to make your complaint but you are free to do so should you wish.
2. Please note that Chambers will only consider complaints that are raised within six months of the act or omission complained of.
3. If your complaint is about a barrister, you may wish, in the first instance, to write to the barrister directly. The barrister will inform the Head of Chambers and may either respond personally or ask the Head of Chambers to respond. If you do not wish to use this approach or feel, having used it, that the matter is not satisfactorily resolved, the following formal procedure applies.
Please give the following details:
(a) Your name and address;
(b) Which member(s) of Chambers you are complaining about;
(c) The detail of the complaint; and
(d) What you would like done about it.
Please address your complaint in writing to:
The Head of Chambers
2 New Street
4. We will, where possible, to acknowledge receipt of your complaint within two days and provide you with details of how your complaint will be dealt with.
5. Our Chambers has a panel headed by the Head of Chambers and made up of experienced members of Chambers who will consider any written complaint. Within 14 days of your letter being received the head of the panel or the deputy will appoint a member of the panel to investigate it. If your complaint is against the head of the panel, the next most senior member of the panel will investigate it. In any case, the person appointed will be someone other than the person you are complaining about.
6. The person appointed to investigate will write to you as soon as possible to let you know he or she has been appointed and that he or she will reply to your complaint within 14 days. If it appears later that he or she is not going to be able to reply within 14 days the person appointed will set a new date for the reply and inform you.
7. The reply will set out:
(a) The nature and scope of the investigation;
(b) The conclusion on each complaint and the basis for that conclusion; and
(c) If he or she finds that you are justified in your complaint, the proposals for resolving the complaint.
8. All conversations and documents relating to the complaint will be treated as confidential and will be disclosed only to the extent that is necessary. Disclosure will be to the head of chambers and to anyone involved in the complaint and its investigation. Such people will include the barrister member or staff who you have complained about, the head or relevant senior member of the panel and the person who investigates the complaint. The Bar Standards Board is entitled to inspect the documents and seek information about the complaint when discharging its auditing and monitoring functions.
9. As part of our commitment to client care we make a written record of any complaint and retain all documents and correspondence generated by the complaint for a period of six years. The Head of Chambers inspects the record regularly with a view to improving services.
10. Clients who are individuals, small businesses or charities, can complain to the Legal Ombudsman if they are either unhappy with Chambers’ final response to their complaint or if Chambers fails to respond to their complaint within 8 weeks. You can contact the Legal Ombudsman to make a complaint using the following contact information:
PO Box 6806
Tel: 0300 55 0333
More information about the Legal Ombudsman is available on their website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk
11. You must complain to the Legal Ombudsman either within six years of your barrister’s actions/failure to act, or no later than three years after you should reasonably have known that there were grounds to complain.
You must also complain to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving your barrister’s final response to your complaint.
12. The Legal Ombudsman publishes all of its decisions from the past 12 months and shows whether the service provider was required to provide a remedy to the consumer. This information can be found at: http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/raising-standards/data-and-decisions/#ombudsman-decision-data.