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. An example of inadequate service might be: a failure to deal with all the points upon which written advice sought or a failure to deal with paperwork in a reasonable time period. Chambers will not determine complaints which essentially involve a complaint that the client, without more, disagrees with the barrister’s legal judgement on the law or facts of the case or the barrister’s professional judgement about how a case should be presented to court. This is because to do so would require the investigator to put his legal judgement above the barrister’s and would amount to the provision of a “second opinion”. This approach taken by Chambers, does not prevent you from pursuing the matter with the Legal Ombudsman.
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.
The time limits are:
a. The act or omission, or when the complainant should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint, must have been after 5 October 2010;
b. The complainant must refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman no later than six years from the act/omission, or three years from when the complainant should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint;
c. The complainant must also refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of the complainant 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 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).
3. Chambers must have regard to that timeframe when deciding whether they are able to investigate your complaint. Chambers will not therefore usually deal with complaints that fall outside of the Legal Ombudsman’s time limits. The Ombudsman can extend the time limit in exceptional circumstances.
4. The Ombudsman will also only deal with complaints from consumers. This means that only complaints from the barrister’s client are within their jurisdiction. Non-clients who are not satisfied with the outcome of the Chambers’ investigation should contact the BSB rather than the Legal Ombudsman.
5. It should be noted 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 BSB. Therefore, Chambers will make an initial assessment of the complaint and if they feel that the issues raised cannot be satisfactorily resolved through the Chambers complaints process they will refer you to the BSB.
Complaints made by telephone
Complaints made in writing
Complaints to Legal Ombudsman/alternative dispute resolution