Client complaints received in writing are acknowledged in writing within 7 days stating:
- the name of the person who will deal with the complaint together with a description of that person’s role in Chambers
- a copy of the Chambers Complaints Procedure
- the date by which the complainant will next hear from Chambers.
- the complainant will also be advised of the alternative option of complaint to:
1) The Legal Ombudsman within six months of the written response. (The Legal Ombudsman requires that the complaint be first addressed in house). More information can be found at www.legalombudsman.org.uk
2) The Bar Standards Board within 6 months of the initial complaint (The Bar Standards Board deal with complaints regarding the conduct of a barrister only) More information can be found at www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/complaintsandhearings
Other significant feedback will be assessed by the Senior Clerk in liaison with other personnel, if necessary, to assess the best method of response. The client concerned may be contacted and invited to formalise their concerns in writing or to resolve the issue by telephone immediately.
With less serious complaints, the issue may be resolved by the Senior Clerk in isolation or in liaison with relevant personnel within a short space of time. Where possible, this will be in the same letter sent to acknowledge the complaint.
Where the complaint is less easily resolved, for instance complaints in respect of legal competence or professional conduct, and requires deeper investigation and discussion, possibly at Executive Committee level, the client’s acknowledgement letter will advise this.
A written response will be sent as soon as possible but in any case within a month of receipt of the client’s complaint. The response may be:
- to inform the client that the complaint has been investigated and found not to be justified, explaining why,
- to inform the client that the complaint has been investigated and found to be justified, and either:
- explaining the remedial action proposed, any form of compensation and where appropriate preventive measures to be implemented to prevent recurrence;
- or that the matter has been referred to the Chambers Secretary for resolution and also explaining to the client his/her right to bring the matter to the attention of the Bar Council’s Complaints Commissioner;
- if appropriate, information on the LSC or CPS complaint procedures may also be provided.
The Senior Clerk / Chambers Secretary will monitor the complaint to ensure that it is resolved as speedily as possible. They shall also ensure that a Complaint Form is completed to show:
- name and address of the complainant firm and/or individual
- the nature of the complaint and barrister(s) / member(s) of staff responsible
- the remedial / corrective action taken
- compensatory measures afforded the client
- the root cause identified
- longer-term preventive measures to be taken
The Senior Clerk maintains a confidential central file of all complaints dealt with, which are kept for 6 years and can be produced upon request from the Bar Standards Board or the Legal Ombudsman.
The Senior Clerk will conduct an annual review of these to detect any emerging or recurrent trends. Information from this review is reported to the Annual Management Review meeting for discussion and action as necessary.
At One Pump Court Chambers we encourage all clients to feedback, be it negative or positive. If you would like to discuss any matter arising from our services please feel free to contact our Senior Clerk, Ian Burrow on 020 7842 7070.