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Complaints Procedure

Complaints Procedure

All the barristers who are members of these Chambers make every effort to provide their clients with an excellent service. In the event of a complaint arising, Chambers have a complaints procedure for the handling of grievances. All clients of barristers practising from 3 Temple Gardens, both professional and lay clients, have the right to make a complaint. All complaints received will usually be determined within an 8-week period from receipt.

The objectives of our complaints procedure are
(1) to take remedial action to address the complaint where the problem is not beyond correction;
(2) to look at the root cause of the problem and to take action to prevent a recurrence, and
(3) to address as best we can how the remedy sought might be realised.

This complaints procedure is not designed to deal with complaints which, if proven, would amount to serious professional misconduct by a barrister. The Bar Standards Board (BSB) investigate complaints where a barrister may have broken the rules or acted in a way that might damage the public's ability to trust barristers or other people that they regulate. If your complaint against a barrister clearly alleges serious professional misconduct, then you are entitled to refer your complaint to the BSB. Contact details for the BSB can be found at ‘Complaints to the Bar Standards Board' below.

In the same way, this complaints procedure is not designed to deal with complaints that allege professional negligence by a barrister from these chambers and which may entitle you to sue the barrister for financial loss or damage. If your complaint is of this nature you should seek your own legal advice on the remedies available to you.

The BSB Handbook can be viewed on the BSB website
https://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/

Making a Complaint

You can make a complaint by telephone or in writing.

Telephone

If you choose this method of telling us about your complaint, please contact Gary Brown (Senior Clerk). However, if the complaint is about the Senior Clerk himself or the Deputy Senior Clerk, please contact Scott Brady, the Head of Chambers. A record will be made of the details of your complaint along with a note of what you would like done to resolve matters. Your concerns will be discussed with you with the aim of resolving the complaint. If the complaint is settled, a record will be made of the outcome.

If your complaint is not resolved on the telephone you may be invited to write to chambers within the following 14 days, so it can be investigated formally and you may be asked to complete a complaints form to help us understand the details of your complaint and how you would like the complaint resolved.

Writing

In making a complaint in writing, please include the following details:

• your name and address;
• which barrister or member Chambers' staff is the subject of your complaint;
• the detail of the complaint;
• what you would like done to resolve the complaint.

Please address your letter or email to Gary Brown (Senior Clerk). If the complaint is about the Senior Clerk himself or the Deputy Senior Clerk, please address your correspondence to Scott Brady (Head of Chambers). We will, where possible, acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 48 hours of the date of receipt and will provide you with details of how your complaint will be handled. You may be asked to complete a complaints form to help us understand the details of your complaint and how you would like the complaint resolved.

Our consideration of your complaint

(1) Usually a barrister who is a member of chambers will be assigned to consider your complaint. The person assigned will be someone other than the barrister you are complaining about.

(2) Within 21 days of your written communication being received you should receive an initial reply from the barrister assigned to consider the complaint. However, if that person finds that they are not able to reply within 21 days for any reason, a new date for the reply will be set and you will be informed. If the barrister assigned to consider the complaint is for any reason unable to complete their consideration, the matter will be delegated to another barrister and you will be notified. It may be possible for the barrister assigned to your complaint to reach a conclusion within the initial 21 days. However, if not, we will aim to conclude the process in every case at least within 8 weeks.

(3) The person assigned to consider the complaint will speak to the barrister you have complained about and they might also speak to the Head of Chambers. They may also refer to you about your complaint in respect of any matter that requires clarification or about anything that they have been told by the barrister complained about. They will consider whether it is possible for your complaint to be resolved by agreement between yourself and the barrister concerned. This may not be possible or acceptable in every case. Once the person assigned has fully considered the complaint you will receive a letter setting out their conclusion. This will set out:

• the nature and scope of their consideration;
• the conclusion on the complaint and the basis for the conclusion, and
• where appropriate, the proposals for resolving it in accordance with our objectives as set out above.

(4) In respect of a complaint made against a member of staff, other than the Senior Clerk himself, Gary Brown will investigate the complaint with adherence to Chambers' staff disciplinary procedures.

Confidentiality

All conversations and documents relating to a complaint will be treated as confidential and will only be disclosed to the Head of Chambers, the Management Committee of Chambers and to anyone involved with the complaint or the administration of the complaints procedure within chambers generally. This will include the barrister or member of staff complained about.

If the complaint is against a barrister, the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund (professional indemnity insurers) will also be informed and will be provided with the documentation.

In addition, the Bar Standards Board is entitled to inspect complaints records and documentation when discharging its periodical auditing and monitoring functions.

Our Policy

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 from the date of closure. Chambers Management Committee inspects the complaints register annually with a view to improving services.

Complaints to the Bar Standards Board (BSB)

If you consider that your complaint would best be dealt with by the BSB as set out above, you may refer your complaint directly to them. Please note that in most cases the Bar Standards Board places a twelve-month time limit from the date of the problem happening in which to make your complaint.

Call the BSB switchboard on 020 7611 1444 and ask to speak to the Professional Conduct Department Information Line or email assessementcomplaints@barstandardsboard.org.uk

Legal Ombudsman

Complaints will usually be determined within 8 weeks of receipt. However, at the conclusion of the investigation you will be informed that you are entitled to refer the matter to the Legal Ombudsman or the Information Commissioners Office (as appropriate - please see below) if you remain dissatisfied.

The Legal Ombudsman will not consider a complaint until it has first been investigated by Chambers.

The Legal Ombudsman can be contacted at:

Legal Ombudsman
PO Box 6806,
Wolverhampton
WV1 9WJ
Telephone number: 0300 555 0333
Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

The Legal Ombudsman applies a timeframe for referral of complaints which is set at:
a) Six years from the date of the act/omission
b) Three years from the date that the complainant should reasonably have known there were grounds for complaint (if the act/omission took place before the 6 October 2010 or was more than six years ago)
c) Within six months of the complaint receiving a final response from chambers, if that response included prominently, an explanation that the Legal Ombudsman was 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 them within six months.


Information Commissioners Office


Complaints will usually be determined within 8 weeks of receipt. However, at the conclusion of the investigation you will be informed that you are entitled to refer the matter to the Information Commissioners Office or the Legal Ombudsman (as appropriate) if you remain dissatisfied. Please see chambers Privacy Notice attached to this website.

Complaints in respect data protection can be made to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO). The ICO can be contacted at:

Information Commissioners Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Telephone number: 0303 1231113
Website: https://ico.org.uk/