We are very keen to ensure that the service offered by a practising member of chambers is of the highest quality. If you should have any concerns about any matters in Chambers, please raise them with the Head of Chambers. We hope that we can resolve any outstanding issues with you. However, if you are unhappy with the outcome, you have the choice of taking up your complaint with the Legal Ombudsman. There are strict time limits for making a complaint which are set out in our Chambers Complaints Procedure below.
- Please note that the Legal Ombudsman, the independent complaints body for service complaints about lawyers, has time limits in which a complaint must be raised with them:
- Within six years of the date of the act/omission. In addition the act or omission must have taken place on or after 5th October 2010: and/or
- Three years from the date that the complainant should reasonably have known there were grounds for complaint ( again the act or omission itself must have occurred after the 5th October 2010 ); and/or
- Within six months of the complaint receiving a final response from their lawyer, if that response complies with the requirements in rule 4.4 of the Scheme Rules (which requires the response to include, prominently, an explanation that the Legal Ombudsman is available if the complainant remained dissatisfied and the provision of full contact details for the Ombudsman and a warning that the complaint must be referred to the Ombudsman within six months).
- The Ombudsman can extend the time limit in exceptional circumstances. Chambers will have regard to that timeframe when deciding whether they are able to investigate a complaint. Chambers will not usually deal with complaints that fall outside of the Legal Ombudsman’s time limits.
- The Ombudsman will only deal with complaints from consumers. This means that only complaints from the barrister’s client are within their remit. Non-clients who are not satisfied with the outcome of the Chambers’ investigation should contact the Bar Standards Board rather than the Legal Ombudsman.
- Please be aware that it may not always be possible to investigate a complaint brought by a non-client. This is because the ability of Chambers to satisfactorily investigate and resolve such matters is limited and complaints of this nature are often better suited to the disciplinary processes maintained by the Bar Standards Board. Therefore, Chambers will make an initial assessment of such a complaint and if it is felt that the issues raised cannot be satisfactorily resolved through the Chambers complaints process it will refer the complaint to the Bar Standards Board.
Complaints Made by Telephone
- You may wish to make a complaint in writing and, if so, please follow the procedure in the paragraphs that follow. However, if you would rather speak on the telephone about your complaint then please telephone the Head of Chambers, Dr Anne Newbold to deal with complaints in the first instance. If the complaint is about Dr Anne Newbold then please telephone Iona Levine. The person you contact will make a note of the details of your complaint and what you would like done about it. He will discuss your concerns with you and aim to resolve them. If the matter is resolved he 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 within the 14 days of the last telephone call relating to the complaint so that the complaint can be formally investigated.
Complaints made in Writing
- You may wish to make a complaint in writing. If so, please give the following details:
- Your name and address.
- Which member(s) of Chambers you are complaining about.
- The detail of the complaint; and
- What you would like done about it.
- Please address your written complaint to Dr Anne Newbold at the following email address: email@example.com. We will, where possible, acknowledge receipt of your complaint within two days and provide you with details of how your complaint will be dealt with. If your complaint is about Dr Anne Newbold then please address your complaint to Iona Levine at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Within 14 days of your email being received the person to whom you have sent you complaint will investigate the complaint. If it proves difficult to reply within 14 days, you will be informed of a new date for the reply. The reply will set out:
- The nature and scope of the investigation.
- The conclusion on each complaint and the basis for the conclusion; and
If the finding is that you are justified in your complaint, proposals for resolving the complaint.
- 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 you have complained about 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.
- We will make a written record of any complaint and retain all documents and correspondence generated by the complaint for a period of six years.
Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman
- If you are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation you may take up your complaint with the Legal Ombudsman, the independent complaints body for complaints about lawyers, but only after the conclusion of our consideration of your complaint. The Ombudsman is not able to consider your complaint until it has first been investigated by Chambers. Please note the timeframe for referral of complaints to the Ombudsman is as set out above.
You can write to them at:
PO Box 6806
Telephone number 0300 555 0333
- If you are not a client of Chambers, or if your complaint is about the professional conduct of one of our barristers rather than the quality of our service, then you can complain to The Bar Standards Board (the professional regulatory body for barristers). The Bar Standards Board investigates complaints of professional misconduct or professional disciplinary issues.
You can write to the Bar Standards Board at:
Complaints Department Bar Standards Board 289-293 High Holborn London WC1V 7HZ
DX: 240 LDE
Tel: 020 7611 1444
The Legal Ombudsman publishes details about decisions they have made. You can find them on their website here.
You can also search for a barrister who is authorised to practise on the Barristers’ Register. This is published on the Bar Standard Board’s website here.