Our aim is to provide you with a good 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.
Please note that the Legal Ombudsman, the independent complaints body for service complaints about lawyers, has time limits in which a complaint must be raised with them. The time limits are:
The Ombudsman can extend the time limit in exceptional circumstances. Chambers must therefore have regard to that timeframe when deciding whether they are able to investigate your complaint. Chambers will not therefore usually deal with complaints that fall outside of the Legal Ombudsman’s time limits.
The Ombudsman will also only deal with complaints from consumers. This means than only complaints from the barrister’s client are within their jurisdiction. NonUclients who are not satisfied with the outcome of the Chambers’ investigation should contact the Bar Standards Board rather than the Legal Ombudsman.
It should be noted that it may not always be possible to investigate a complaint brought by a nonUclient. This is because the ability of Chambers to satisfactorily investigate and resolve such matters is limited and complaints of this nature are often better suited to the disciplinary processes maintained by the Bar Standards Board. Therefore, Chambers will make an initial assessment of the complaint and if they feel that the issues raised cannot be satisfactorily resolved through the Chambers complaints process they will refer you to the Bar Standards Board.
You may wish to make a complaint in writing and, if so, please follow the procedure in paragraphs 4 and 5 below. However, if you would rather speak on the telephone about your complaint, then please telephone the individual nominated under the Chambers Complaints Procedure to deal with complaints. If the complaint is against a member of Chambers or a member of staff, contact John Grimmer, Senior Clerk. If the complaint is against the Senior Clerk, John Grimmer, contact the joint Heads of Chambers, Brian Altman QC and Jim Sturman QC. The person you contact will make a note of the details of your complaint and what you would like done about it. He will discuss your concerns with you and aim to resolve them. If the matter is resolved, he will record the outcome, check that 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.
If your complaint is not 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.
Please give the following details:
Please address your letter to the joint Heads of Chambers, Brian Altman QC and Jim Sturman QC, Head of Chambers, Complaints, 2 Bedford Row, London, WC1R 4BU. We will, where possible, acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 3 working days and provide you with details of how your complaint will be dealt with.
Written complaints will be investigated by either of our joint Heads of Chambers, Brian Altman QC or Jim Sturman QC and our senior clerk John Grimmer. On receipt of your complaint, you will be informed which Head of Chambers will deal with your complaint. Within 14 days of your letter being received, either of our joint Heads of Chambers will investigate your complaint. If your complaint is against either of the joint Heads of Chambers someone other than the person you are complaining about will be appointed to investigate.
The person appointed to investigate will write to you as soon as possible to let you know he has been appointed and that he will reply to your complaint within 14 days. If he finds later that he is not going to be able to reply within 14 days, he will set a new date for his reply and inform you. His reply will set out:
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 joint Heads of Chambers, members of our Management Committee and to anyone involved in the complaint and its investigation. Such people will include the barrister or member of staff who you have complained about, and the person who investigates the complaint. 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. Our Management Committee inspects an anonymised record regularly with a view to improving services.
If you are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation and you fall within their jurisdiction 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 the timeframe for referral of complaints to the Ombudsman as set out at paragraph 2 above.
You can write to them at:
PO Box 6806
T: 0300 555 0333
If you are not the barristers‘ client and are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation then please contact the Bar Standards Board at:
Professional Conduct Department
Bar Standards Board
289-293 High Holborn
T: 020 7611 1444