At Tennyson we have a complaints procedure which may be used by clients if necessary. The procedure of how to complain to Chambers about a member of chambers is set out below –
- Our aim is to give you 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 to make your complaint, but you are free to do so should you wish.
- 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:
- Six years from the date of the act/omission;
- Three years from the date that the complainant should reasonably have known there were grounds for complaint (if the act/omission took place before the 6 October 2010 or was more than six years ago);
- Within six months of the complaint receiving a final response from their lawyer, if that response complies with the requirements in rule 4.4 of the Scheme Rules (which requires the response to include prominently an explanation that the Legal Ombudsman was available if the complainant remained dissatisfied and the provision of full contact details for the Ombudsman and a warning that the complaint must be referred to them within six months
- 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 that only complaints from the barrister’s client are within their jurisdiction. Non-clients who are not satisfied with the outcome of the Chambers’ investigation should contact the Bar Standards Board rather than the Legal Ombudsman.
- It may not always be possible to investigate a complaint brought by a non-client. 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, a designated member of chambers will make an initial assessment of the complaint and if he/she is of the view that the issues raised cannot be satisfactorily resolved through the Chambers complaints process they will refer you to the Bar Standards Board.
Procedure for making a complaint.
- There are many ways in which your complaint may be dealt with:
- By discussion over the telephone;
- By correspondence;
- By discussion at a meeting between yourself and the member of chambers investigating the complaint;
- By the appointment of a mediator who will try to facilitate the resolution of your complaint.
Complaints Made by Telephone.
- You may wish to make a complaint in writing and, if so, please follow the procedure in paragraph 8 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 namely Miss Susan Brown as the Head of Chambers or other member of chambers appointed by the Head of Chambers. The person you contact will make a note of the details of your complaint, and what you would like to have done about it. She/he will discuss your concerns with you, and aim to resolve them. If the matter is resolved he/she 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 so it can be investigated formally.
Complaints made in Writing.
- Please give the following details:
- Your name and address;
- Which member(s) of Chambers you are complaining about;
- The detail of the complaint; and
- What you would like done about it.
- Please address your letter to Miss Susan Brown, Head of Chambers, Ocean Village Innovation Centre Ocean Way Southampton SO14 3JZ. 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.
- The person appointed to investigate will write to you as soon as possible to let you know he/she has been appointed and that she/he will reply to your complaint within 14 days. If she/he finds later that she/he is not going to be able to reply within 14 days she/he will set a new date for his/her reply and inform you. The reply will set out:
- The nature and scope of the investigation;
- The conclusion on each complaint and the basis for the conclusion; and
- If he/she finds that you are justified in your complaint, the 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 any management committee of chambers and to anyone involved in the complaint and its investigation. Such people will include the barrister member who you have complained about, the head of chambers, and the person who investigates the complaint (if not the same). although your complaint may be discussed with other barristers or officials from the Bar Standards Board for their advice and to comply with requests for information from the Bar Standards Board discharging its auditing and monitoring functions. We will not reveal your name to others unless a mediation or arbitration is being set up. 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 Head of Chambers inspects an anonymised record regularly with a view to improving services and at least once a year to ensure that we maintain good standards of service.
Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman.
- 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:Legal Ombudsman
PO Box 6806,
Telephone number: 0300 555 0333
- You may look at the legal ombudsman decision data by clicking here
- If you are not the barrister’s client and are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation then please contact the Bar Standards Board at:
Bar Standards Board
Professional Conduct Department
289-293 High Holborn
Telephone number: 0207 6111 444
Acknowledgement for copyright purposes is given to the Bar Standards Board in formulating the above complaints procedure which is based on the Bar Standard Board’s model complaints procedure.
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