Complaints Procedure & Legal Ombudsman Information
We aim to provide an excellent quality of service at all times. If, however, you have a complaint, we invite you to follow Chambers Internal Complaints Procedure below. Please note that we will not consider complaints raised more than three years after the relevant event, and, there may be circumstances where complaints received from parties that were not our specific lay or professional client are rejected.
- Any substantive complaint received in Chambers (whether it is to a Clerk, a Barrister or to the Head of Chambers) will be logged in our Complaints File and a copy given to the Director of Clerking.
- A substantive complaint is one which is about a matter that covers negligence, incompetence or a significant shortfall in the level of service. It should be made in writing, by letter, fax or email and addressed to the Director of Clerking, the Head of Chambers or the relevant Barrister.
- All complaints will be acknowledged, in writing where appropriate, within 48 hours of receipt.
- The client will also be advised that a full, detailed reply will follow which will, where practical, be within 21 days of receipt of the initial complaint. If the complaint is against a member of Chambers, this initial response will be from them. If it is against a member of staff, the Director of Clerking will respond.
- If it is not appropriate for the initial response to be provided by the individual, the complaint will be referred to the Head of Chambers and the Management Committee who, where practical, will provide a detailed reply within 21 days of receipt of the initial complaint.
- If the response is deemed to be insufficient by the client or it is not possible to resolve the matter with the response provided in paragraphs 4 & 5, then the matter will be referred to the Head of Chambers and the Management Committee. The matter will then be further investigated. The Management Committee delegated Complaint Investigator will then liaise with the complaining party as appropriate.
- If a complainant is still unsatisfied even after referral to the Head of Chambers and Management Committee, then they will be advised of their right to approach the Legal Ombudsman.
- The existence of this procedure does not prohibit Chambers from turning aside what are considered to be “unjustified” complaints.
- The Complaints File must record all correspondence relating to the complaint. The record must be marked as concluded when the complaint is finalised.
- The Complaints File will be reviewed each September by the Director of Clerking who will then report the number and type of complaints to the Management Committee. The Director of Clerking will also outline any procedural changes that have been deemed necessary and when they were introduced.
- All correspondence 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. The Legal Ombudsman is entitled to review all information Chambers hold on the complaint and will be provided with a file should they be instructed to investigate a complaint.
All information relating to complaints is stored by Chambers for a period of 6 years.
Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman
We hope that you will use our procedure. However, if you would rather not do so or are unhappy with the outcome you may take up your complaint with the Legal Ombudsman. You must complain to the Legal Ombudsman either within six years of your barrister’s alleged actions/failure to act, or no later than three years after you should reasonably have known there were grounds to complain.
You must also complain to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving your barrister’s (or Chambers) final response to your complaint.
You can write to the Legal Ombudsman at:
Office of the Legal Services Ombudsman PO Box 6806,
To access decision data on the Legal Ombudsman’s website please click here.