Our aim is to give you a good service at all times. However while all barristers and staff strive to maintain high standards, there may be occasions when a person is dissatisfied. We would hope to resolve any dissatisfaction informally, and the senior clerk or the Head of Chambers is always happy to discuss matters that concern you. However, you of course have the right to make a complaint about the service you receive and Chambers’ procedure for dealing with such complaints is set out below.
If you do wish to make a complaint, you are invited to let us know as soon as possible. It is not necessary to involve solicitors in order to make a complaint, but you are free to do so.
Please note that the Legal Ombudsman, the independent complaints body for service complaints about lawyers, has a six year time limit from the date of the act or omission about which you are complaining within which to make your complaint (or, if later, three years from the date you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint). Chambers must therefore have regard to that timeframe when deciding whether they are able to investigate your complaint. Chambers will not deal with complaints that fall outside of this time limit.
Complaints made by telephone
Please give your name and address, whom 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, Gough Square Chambers, 6-7 Gough Square London EC4A 3DE.
Our Chambers has a Complaints Panel of the Head of Chambers, experienced members of chambers and the senior clerk. Your complaint will be investigated by a committee made up of members of the Panel. The committee will be headed by Claire Andrews. If your complaint is against the head of the committee, the next most senior member of the Complaints Panel will be appointed to head the committee. The head of the committee will appoint two other members of the Complaints Panel to the committee. In any case, the person or persons you are complaining about will not be on the committee.
The head of the committee will write to you as soon as possible to let you know of the appointment of the committee to investigate your complaint and the names of its members. The letter will inform you that you will receive a reply from the head of the committee to your complaint within 14 days. If later the committee finds that it is not going to be able to reply within 14 days, a new date for the reply will be set and the head of the committee will inform you of it.
The reply will set out the nature and scope of the investigation, the committee’s conclusion on each complaint and the basis for its conclusion and, if it finds that you are justified in your complaint, its 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 the Complaints Panel and to anyone involved in the complaint and its investigation; such people will include the barrister member or staff whom you have complained about. The Bar Standards Board is entitled to inspect the documents and seek information about the complaint when discharging its auditing and monitoring functions.
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. The Head of Chambers and the Complaints Panel will review the record of complaints regularly with a view to improving services.
Chambers follows the Bar Standards Board Chambers Complaints Handling Guidance, which can be found on the Bar Standards Board website.
Where the complainant is a disabled person, we will consider a reasonable adjustment to this policy. If an adjustment is required, a request for the adjustment should be made addressed to the Complaints Panel, whom will consider whether the adjustment is reasonable and, if so, apply it.
Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman
If, within 8 weeks of making the complaint to us, you feel that the complaint has not been resolved to your satisfaction, you may take up your complaint with the Legal Ombudsman, the independent complaints body for complaints about lawyers. The Ombudsman is not ordinarily able to consider your complaint until it has first been investigated by Chambers. You can write to the Ombudsman at:
PO Box 15870
Birmingham B30 9EB
Telephone: 0300 555 0333
Online form available here