5 Essex Court

Complaints

Chambers focuses 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, please 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.

Complaint by Telephone

If your complaint concerns a barrister, please contact the Senior Clerk (or in his absence the Chambers Director) on 020 7410 2000. If the complaint relates to the Senior Clerk, you should contact our Head of Chambers, Jason Beer QC.

The person you contact will record the details of your complaint and what you would like to be taken. We will discuss your concerns with you and aim to resolve them promptly. If the complaint can be resolved to your satisfaction, we will record the outcome and provide you with written confirmation to the same effect. 

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 and/or Chambers Director. 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.

Confidentiality

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. This will include the barrister or member of 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.

Our Policy

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 wherever possible.

Further Recourse

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:

http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/downloads/documents/publications/Scheme-Rules.pdf

Section 4.5

Ordinarily

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

Birmingham B30 9EB

Tel: 0300 555 0333

Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk