5 Essex Court has a reputation for providing excellent levels of service to our clients.
Chambers is fully committed to providing a high quality of service when administering counsel’s instructions. We provide clear and transparent management when dealing with instructions for hearings, paperwork and subsequent billing.
If you have any particular requirements, please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss the best way for us to assist you.
We are delighted to receive feedback from clients on the quality of our services. Members of Chambers and clerks also pass your comments onto our management committee for review. We are constantly looking for ways to improve our business.
If you have any specific issues you wish to raise, please contact Chambers’ Senior Clerk, Mark Waller on 0207 410 2000
Chambers prides itself on providing a first-class service to its clients at all times. However, if you believe that our professionalism has fallen short and wish to complain, you are invited to advise us as soon as possible. Your complaint can be made through your solicitor or directly to Chambers.
Submission of Complaint
Complaints can be made by telephone or in writing, although we would encourage clients to raise their complaint by telephone initially, subject to the severity of the complaint raised.
Complaint by Telephone
If your complaint concerns a barrister, please telephone the Senior Clerk (or in his absence the Head of Chambers) on 020 7410 2000. If the complaint relates to the Senior Clerk, you should ask to speak with the Head of Chambers. If your complaint involves the Head of Chambers, you should ask to speak with the Senior Clerk; he will refer you the most senior member of Chambers available. The person you contact will take a note of the details of your complaint and what you would like done. We will discuss your concerns with you and aim to resolve them. If the complaint can be resolved to your satisfaction, we will record the outcome and the fact that you are happy with the resolution of the complaint. We will then write to you confirming these facts.
If your complaint cannot be resolved to your satisfaction, you will be invited to write to us within the next seven days so that the complaint can be formally investigated.
Complaint by Correspondence
If you are writing to Chambers regarding your complaint, please set out the following details:
Your name and address;
Which member of Chambers/staff you are complaining about;
The details of the complaint; and
How you wish the complaint to be resolved.
Please address your letter to the Senior Clerk. We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within a maximum of five working days and provide details of how your complaint will be processed, and by whom. We would expect to advise you within 28 working days of the outcome of the investigation. If it is likely to take longer than this period, we will write notifying you of this fact, explain why and provide a revised completion date.
Complaints regarding a barrister’s competence and professional conduct are investigated by the Senior Clerk and a senior, experienced member of Chambers. You are entitled, when advised of the investigating barrister, to ask in writing for an alternative barrister, giving reasons for your request. Complaints concerning staff and client care matters will be investigated by the Senior Clerk. Complaints concerning the Senior Clerk will be investigated by a senior member of the Chambers’ Management Committee.
All investigations will be carried out as quickly and efficiently as is reasonably possible; you should be aware that diary commitments may delay the procedure but everything will be done to expedite the investigation. The background and conclusions of the investigation regarding the complaint, together with a recommendation(s) for the resolution of the complaint, will be put to the Head of Chambers for his ultimate decision and sanction. The Head of Chambers will write to you once the matter has been investigated and:
If found unjustified, explain why.
If found justified, set out his proposals for resolving the complaint.
Provide details of the Bar Standards Board’s complaint procedure
In the event that the complaint refers to the Head of Chambers, the process will be undertaken by the Head of the Management Committee.
A copy of the letter will be provided to the barrister/member of staff who is the subject of the complaint.
All conversations and documents shall be deemed confidential and disclosed only to the extent necessary. Disclosure will be to the Head of Chambers, members of our management committee and anyone involved in the complaint and its investigation. Such people will include the barrister member or staff whom you have complained about, the Senior Clerk, the senior member investigating the complaint and the Head of Chambers. You should be aware that 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 written records of any complaint and retain all documents and correspondence generated by the complaint for seven years. Our Management Committee reviews complaint records with a view to improving service standards.
If you are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation you may take up your complaint with the Legal Ombudsman, the independent complaints body for complaints about lawyers, at the conclusion of our consideration of your complaint. The Ombudsman is not able to consider your complaint until it has first been investigated by Chambers.
Please note that the Legal Ombudsman has the following time limits:
- a) the act or omission, or when the complaint should reasonably have known there was case for complaint, must have been after 5th October 2010; and
- b) the complainant must refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman no later than:
- six years from the act /omission; or
- three from when the complainant should reasonably have known there was cause for compliant
In relation to 4.5(b)
- a) where a complaint is referred by a personal representative or beneficiary of the estate of a person who, before he/she died, had not referred the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, the period runs from when the deceased should have reasonably have known there was cause for complaint; and
- b) when the complainant (or deceased) should have reasonably have known there was a cause for complaint will be assessed on the basis of the complainant’s (or deceased) own knowledge, disregarding what the complaint ( or the deceased) might have been told if he/she had sought advice.
You can write to the Legal Ombudsman at:
Office of the Legal Ombudsman for England and Wales
PO Box 15870
Telephone number: 0300 555 0333