Client complaints procedure
Our aim is to provide you with the best 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.
Please note that chambers will only consider complaints that are raised within six months of the act or omission complained of.
Complaints made by telephone
If you would like to make your complaint by telephone, then please telephone either the barrister concerned or the Chambers’ Director, Ian Bowie. If the complaint is about a member of staff, please telephone the Chambers Director, Ian Bowie. If the complaint is about the Chambers’ Director, telephone the Head of Chambers, Nicholas Caddick QC. The person you contact will make a note of the details of your complaint and what you would like done about it. They will discuss your concerns with you and will try to resolve them. If the matter is resolved, s/he will record the outcome, check 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 for your own records.
If your complaint is not satisfactorily 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.
Complaints made in writing
If you choose to complain in writing, please give the following details: your name, and address, which member(s) of chambers or of staff you are complaining about, the date of the complaint, the detail of your complaint and what you would like done about it. Please address your letter to Nicholas Caddick QC, Head of Chambers, 5 New Square, Lincoln’s Inn, London WC2A 3RJ.
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.
Our chambers has a complaints panel headed by Nicholas Caddick QC and made up of experienced members of Chambers and a senior member of staff. This panel will consider any written complaint. Within 14 days of your letter being received the head of the panel or in that person’s absence, his/her deputy will appoint a member of the panel to investigate your complaint. If your complaint is against the head of the panel, it will be investigated by the next most senior member of the panel. In any case, the person appointed will be someone other than the person you are complaining against.
The person appointed to investigate your complaint will write to you as soon as possible to let you know that s/he has been appointed and that s/he will reply to your complaint within 14 days. If s/he finds that s/he is unable to reply within 14 days s/he will set a new date for replying and inform you. His/her reply will set out:
• The nature and scope of his/her investigation;
• His/her conclusion on each complaint and the basis for his/her conclusion; and
• If s/he finds that you are justified in your complaint, his/her 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, members of our management committee and to anyone involved in the complaint and its investigation. Such people will include the barrister, member or staff about whom you have complained, the head or relevant senior member of the panel and the person who investigates the complaint.
As part of our commitment to client care we will make a written record of any complaint and will retain all documents and correspondence generated by the complaint for a period of six years. Our management committee will review our records regularly with a view to improving service.
If you are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation you may take up your complaint with the Legal Ombudsman or the Bar Standards Board. The Legal Ombudsman will deal with complaints from clients about the services provided by barristers or their staff. The Bar Standards Board will deal with complaints about professional misconduct and disciplinary matters. The Legal Ombudsman acts as a single point of conduct for all such complaints and will ensure that any complaints that relate to professional misconduct are referred to the Bar Standards Board to deal with. You can search for barristers who are authorised to practise in England and Wales on the Barristers’ Register.
The Legal Ombudsman cannot consider a complaint unless it has been investigated by chambers. The Legal Ombudsman decision data can be found here.
Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman have a time limit of 6 months from the date of the determination of an internal investigation by chambers or 12 months from the date on which a complainant should reasonably have known, without taking advice, that there was a reason for making a complaint.
The contact details for the Legal Ombudsman and the Bar Standards Board are:
PO Box 15870
Tel: 0300 555 0333
Bar Standards Board
289-293 High Holborn
Tel: 020 7611 1444
Fax: 020 7831 9217