Our aim is to give you a good service at all times. However if you have a complaint please 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. Please see the end of this document for contact details.
Please note that Chambers will only consider complaints that are raised within six months of the act or omission complained of, unless in the view of Chambers it was not reasonably practicable for the complaint to be made within that period. If so, you may bring your complaint within such further period that Chambers considers reasonably practicable.
This internal complaints procedure covers only complaints by clients, though we may, in our sole discretion, consider complaints made by non-clients.
We may sometimes conclude that your complaint or part of it is not suitable for determination by us. If so, we will let you know which complaint or part of it and why.
5. You may wish to make a complaint in writing and, if so, please follow the procedure in paragraphs 5 and 6 below. However, if you would rather speak on the telephone about your complaint then please telephone:
the Senior Clerk - Glenn Hudson - if the complaint is about a barrister or a clerking matter, or
the Member of Chambers responsible for staff – Joel Donovan QC - if the matter concerns a staff member who is not a clerk, or
the Head of Chambers - Robin Allen QC - if the matter concerns the Senior Clerk or you are in doubt as to whom to contact.
6. The person you contact will make a note of the details of your complaint and what you would like done about it. He or she 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 next 14 days so it can be investigated formally.
Which member(s) of Chambers or which member(s) of staff you are complaining about;
The detail of the complaint; and
What you would like done about it.
Please address your letter to the Head of Chambers. 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. You can contact the Chambers Manager if there has been delay and she will look into the reasons for this for you.
8. Our Chambers has a panel headed by the Head of Chambers and made up of experienced members of Chambers and a senior member of staff, which considers any written complaint. Within 14 days of your letter being received the head of the panel or his deputy in his absence 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.
9. The person appointed to investigate will write to you as soon as possible to let you know he has been appointed and that he will reply to your complaint within 14 days. If he finds later that he is not going to be able to reply within 14 days he will set a new date for his reply and inform you. His reply will set out:
The nature and scope of his investigation;
His conclusion on each complaint and the basis for his conclusion; and
If he finds that you are justified in your complaint, his proposals for resolving the complaint.
10. 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, members of our management committee and to anyone involved in the complaint and its investigation. Such people will include the barrister member of staff who you have complained about, the head or relevant senior member of the panel and the person who investigates the complaint. The Legal Ombudsman is entitled to disclosure of documents and seek information about the complaint when discharging its functions.
11. As part of our commitment to client care we will keep a written record of any written complaint and retain all documents and correspondence generated by the complaint for a period of six years. Our management committee inspects an anonymised record regularly with a view to improving services.
12. Any complaint should ordinarily be made to us in the first instance. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of our internal complaints procedure you have six months from the date on which we respond in writing to you to take the matter to the Legal Ombudsman. The Legal Ombudsman operates a non-judicial dispute resolution procedure. Full information about the procedure and time limits can be accessed through the Legal Ombudsman website, details of which are given below.
13. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of our internal complaints procedure, alternative complaints bodies such as ProMediate - http://www.promediate.co.uk/ - exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and the barrister you have complained about wish to use such a scheme.