If there is something we need to put right before, during or after your visit, please let us know straightaway. We will always do our best to address your concerns or complaints immediately.
If you need to make a formal complaint, you can do so by following the procedure set out on this website or by requesting a copy of it to be emailed or posted to you. All complaints should be addressed to Paul Russell QC, our Head of Chambers.
You can make a complaint directly to us, rather than going through your solicitor. The complaints procedure is clearly set out below.
If you remain unsatisfied by our efforts to resolve your complaint, you may contact the Legal Ombudsman.
The Legal Ombudsman
PO Box 15870
Tel: 0300 555 0333
Alternatively you can visit the Legal Ombudsman website at: www.legalombudsman.org.uk
You may use this procedure unless:
- You are a pupil, mini pupil, fixed term tenant, probationary tenant, full tenant or member of staff at 12 King’s Bench Walk (in which case you may use the appropriate internal Grievance Procedure); or
- The complaint concerns a barrister who was instructed to act on behalf of another party in a case which also involved you or the person or body who you represent. In those circumstances particular difficulties can arise because of the duty owed by the barrister to his/her own client and because of issues of client confidentiality and legal professional privilege. Therefore, in these cases, this Complaints Procedure does not normally apply. However, complaints falling into this category will be assessed on a case by case basis and this Complaints Procedure will be followed where the Complaints Committee considers that it is appropriate. In any event, if your complaint is of professional misconduct by the barrister, then you may make a complaint to the Bar Standards Board as set out below, whether or not a complaint is made or investigated pursuant to this Complaints Procedure.
Our aim is to give you a good service at all times. However if you have a complaint you should let us know as soon as possible. It is not necessary to involve a solicitor to make your complaint but you are free to do so if you wish.
Please note that Chambers will normally only consider complaints made within 12 months of the act or omission complained of (or 12 months of the date when you knew or could reasonably have been expected to know that there was reason for making the complaint).
Complaints made by telephone
You may wish to make a complaint in writing and, if so, please follow the procedure in section 6 below. However, if you would rather speak on the telephone about your complaint then please telephone Chambers and:
- If your complaint is about the Head of Chambers, ask to speak to the next most senior member of the Complaints Panel who is available; or
- If your complaint is about any other barrister, ask to speak to the Head of Chambers; or
- If your complaint is about any other member of staff, ask to speak to the Head of Chambers.
The person you then speak to will make a note of the details of your complaint and what you would like done about it. They will discuss your concerns with you and aim to resolve them. If the matter is resolved they will record the outcome, check that you are satisfied with the outcome and record that you are satisfied. You may also wish to record the outcome of the telephone discussion in writing.
If your complaint is not resolved on the telephone you will be invited to write to us about it so it can be investigated formally.
Complaints made in writing
Please give the following details:
- Your name and address;
- Which barrister or member of staff you are complaining about;
- The detail of the complaint; and
- What you would like done about it.
Please address your letter:
- If your complaint is about the Head of Chambers, to the Complaints Panel;
- If your complaint is about any other barrister, to the Head of Chambers; or
- If your complaint is about any other member of staff, to the Head of Chambers;
at 12 King’s Bench Walk, Temple, London EC4Y 7EL.
We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint promptly, normally within 2 days of receipt, and, with that acknowledgment, we will provide you with details of how your complaint will be dealt with, including the name of the person who will be dealing with your complaint and a description of their role in Chambers, a copy of this Complaints Procedure and the date by which you will next hear from Chambers.
Chambers has a Complaints Panel consisting of the Head of Chambers, and other experienced barristers in Chambers, including the Chambers Equal Opportunities Officer. When your letter is received, the person receiving it will appoint a member of the Complaints Panel to investigate your complaint. If your complaint raises an issue of discrimination or harassment, normally the Head of Chambers or the Equal Opportunities Officer will investigate it. But in every case the person doing the appointing and the person appointed to investigate your complaint will be someone other than the person you are complaining about.
The person appointed to investigate your complaint will complete their investigation and reply to your complaint within 28 days of receipt of your letter of complaint. If they find that they are not going to be able to complete their investigation and reply within 28 days they will set a new date for their reply and inform you. Normally the reply will be within 8 weeks of your complaint. their reply will set out:
- The nature and scope of the investigation;
- The conclusion on each complaint and the reasons for the conclusion;
- If they find that you are justified in your complaint, their proposals for resolving the complaint;
- Your right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman and the Bar Standards Board, the time frame for doing so and full details of how to contact them (as to which see below).
If the complaint concerns a Civil Mediation Council registered mediator, the complaint will be investigated and responded to (by somebody other than the mediator who is the subject of the complaint) in the manner described above but, in line with the Civil Mediation Council standards, within 21 working of receipt of the complaint. If further time is required to complete the investigation, the complainant will be notified of this in writing. If the complaint is dissatisfied with the response, he or she may be able to appeal to the Civil Mediation Council, the details of which can be found here: https://civilmediation.org/for-the-public/complaints/
All conversations and documents relating to the complaint will be treated as confidential and will be disclosed only to the extent that is necessary for:
- The investigation and resolution of the complaint;
- Internal Chambers’ review for the purpose of improving practice;
- Complying with requests from the Legal Ombudsman and the Bar Standards Board;
- Complying with any requirement of a Court or other legal authority.
Internal Chambers review
The Complaints Panel reports annually to the Management Committee of Chambers on the number of complaints received, the subject areas of the complaints and the outcomes. The information provided is anonymised. The Management Committee reviews this information for trends and possible training issues.
Retention of documents
As part of our commitment to client care we make a written record of all complaints and retain all correspondence and other documents generated by complaints for 6 years.
You may complain to the Legal Ombudsman if you are a client of the barrister or you are making a complaint on behalf of a client of the barrister. You can write to him at PO Box 15870 Birmingham B30 9EB or telephone 0300 555 0333. Alternatively, you can go to the Legal Ombudsman’s website at www.legalombudsman.org.uk
The Legal Ombudsman will expect you to have used our Complaints Procedure first and to have allowed us up to 8 weeks in which to resolve your complaint. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, or we have not finished within 8 weeks, you may make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman at that point.
If the Legal Ombudsman considers that your complaint is about misconduct, rather than or in addition to poor service, by a barrister, the Legal Ombudsman may refer your complaint in so far as it relates to misconduct to the Bar Standards Board (which regulates the conduct of barristers).
Bar Standards Board
If your complaint is about misconduct by a barrister, you may complain to the Bar Standards Board directly yourself. You do not have to complain to Chambers or the Legal Ombudsman before complaining to the Bar Standards Board. You may complain about misconduct to the Bar Standards Board whether or not the barrister about whom you are complaining was acting on your behalf or on behalf of your client.
You can write to them at Professional Conduct Team, Bar Standards Board, 289-293 High Holborn, London WC1V 7HZ or telephone 020 7611 1444 (ask to speak to the Professional; Conduct Department Information Line), Fax: 020 7831 9217 or go to their website at www.barstandardsboard.org.uk
If you are a client of the barrister or are acting behalf of a client of the barrister you can complain to both the Legal Ombudsman and the Bar Standards Board.
Both the Legal Ombudsman and the Bar Standards Board will normally only consider complaints made within 12 months of the act or omission complained of (or 12 months of the date when you knew or could reasonably have been expected to know that there was reason for making the complaint).
But, if you have complained first to Chambers within that time frame and then complain to the Legal Ombudsman and/or the Bar Standards Board promptly afterwards, they will normally consider your complaint.
Procedure Updated: 25 October 2016