1. The Public Access Barrister (the Barrister you will instruct ) will be under a strict professional duty to keep your affairs confidential. Legal professional privilege protects your communications with your barrister from disclosure. The only exception is that any lawyer may be required by law to disclose information to governmental or other regulatory authorities, and to do so without first obtaining your consent to such disclosure or telling you that he or she has made it.
2. 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 anyone involved in the complaint and its investigation. Such people will include the staff who you have complained about and the Barrister concerned.
3. It is expected that you will be happy with the professional services to be provided. However, if you are not satisfied, you should first refer the matter to the chambers in line with my chambers' complaints procedure.
4. If you wish to make a complaint by telephone, the Barrister will make a note of the details of your complaint and what you would like done about it. I will endeavour to resolve matters with you on the telephone. If after discussion you are satisfied with the outcome the Barrister will make a note of the outcome and the fact that you are satisfied. If you are not satisfied you may wish to make a written complaint.
5. If you wish to make a written complaint please give me the following details:-
Your name, telephone number an address;
The detail of your complaint; and what you would like done about it.
6. There are a number of ways in which your complaint may be dealt with:
(a) Discussion over the telephone;
(b) Dealt with by correspondence;
(c) Discussion at a meeting between us;
(d) The appointment of a mediator who will try to facilitate the resolution of yourcomplaint;
(e) The appointment of an arbitrator whose decision you and the Barrister both agree shall be binding.
7. If you and the Barrister decide to appoint an arbitrator the both would need to agree how the arbitrator should approach his/her task and the limit of the compensation that can be awarded. The Bar Sole Practitioners Group (BSPG) or local Circuit will be approached and a barrister will be appointed to arbitrate. The both will decide together whether it will be the BSPG or the local Circuit who should be approached. However neither of us may veto the person chosen. It is expected that the BSPG and the Circuit will chose someone who has considerable experience in the area that is the subject matter of the dispute.
8. Upon receipt of a written complaint the Barrister will (a) Reply in writing, normally within 72 working hours, to acknowledge the complaint and inform you how the Barrister shall be dealing with it. (b) Reply within 14 days responding in full to your complaint. He/she will offer you the opportunity to meet with you if that is appropriate. If he/she find later that he/she is not going to be able to reply within 14 days he/she will set a new date for the 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 it is found that you are justified in your complaint, the Barrister’s proposals for resolving the complaint.
9. If you are not happy with the reply then you can contact the Legal Ombudsman. The Legal Ombudsman is a free, impartial and independent service set up by the Government which deals with complaints about the service you have received.
10. You must complain to the Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint from myself or from my Chambers (provided the response specifically notifies you of your right to complain to the Ombudsman and of the six month time limit). A complaint to the Ombudsman must also be made not more than six years after the act or omission complained about or not more than three years from the date when you should reasonably have known that there were grounds for complaint.
You can write to them at:
PO Box 6806
Telephone number: 0300 555 0333
11. The Chambers will retain all correspondence and other documents generated in the course of your complaint for a period of six years and it will review complaints at least once a year to ensure that this maintains good standards of service.