Making a complaint
The standard contractual terms upon which we may offer our services to authorised persons from 31st January 2013, as set by the Bar Council, may be viewed here
Barristers in Chambers may charge hourly rates for private work, or a brief fee and refresher. Charging structures are dependent upon the complexity of the case and seniority of counsel. Please make enquiries with the Clerks. All Members of chambers are registered for VAT therefore all fees quoted will be subject to the addition of VAT
The fees for Driving cases are assessed individually. A quote of fee levels will be given on receipt of case papers.
Timescales for a case may vary depending on factors such as barrister availability, the type and complexity of the case, witness availability and court waiting times.
If you require any further or additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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 in order 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:
- a. The act or omission, or when the complainant should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint, must have been after 5 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 years from when the complainant should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
- c. The complainant must also refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman 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).
3. Chambers must 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 can extend the time limit in exceptional circumstances.
4. 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 (‘BSB’) rather than the Legal Ombudsman.
5. It should be noted that 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 BSB. 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 BSB.
Complaints made by telephone
6. You may wish to make a complaint in writing and, if so, please follow the procedure in paragraphs 7 and 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, Dale Jones, or if the complaint is about Dale Jones, please speak to Julian Christopher KC. The person you contact will make a note of the details of your complaint and what you would like to have done about it. They will discuss your concerns with you and aim to resolve them. If the matter is resolved they 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.
Complaints made in writing
7. 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.
8. Please address your e-mail or letter to Dale Jones and mark it with the subject ‘Complaint’. if your complaint is about the Dale Jones, please make your complaint by letter to Julian Christopher KC. We will, where possible, acknowledge receipt of your complaint within two working days and provide you with details of how your complaint will be dealt with.
9. The person appointed to investigate will write to you as soon as possible to let you know they have been appointed and that they will reply to your complaint within 14 days. If they find later that they are not going to be able to reply within 14 days they will set a new date for their reply and inform you. Their reply will set out:
- The nature and scope of their investigation;
- Their conclusion on each complaint and the basis for their conclusion; and
- If they find that you are justified in your complaint, their proposals for resolving the complaint.
10. If your complaint is about a member of Chambers or a member of staff, your complaint will be investigated by the Chambers Complaints’ Ombudsman (‘the CCO’) or, if your complaint is about the CCO or if there is some other reason why he is not able to investigate your complaint, another member of Chambers appointed by the Management Committee. If your complaint is about a pupil barrister, your complaint will be investigated by the Tenancy and Pupillage Committee or if there is some reason why that committee is not able to investigate your complaint, a member of Chambers appointed by the Management Committee.
11. 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(s) 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 BSB is entitled to inspect the documents and seek information about the complaint when discharging its monitoring functions.
12. 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.
Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman/alternative dispute resolution
13. 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. Those clients who are able to complain to the Legal Ombudsman are as follows:
- a. Individuals;
- b. Businesses or enterprises that are micro-enterprises within the meaning of Article 1 and Article 2(1) and (3) of the Annex to Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC (broadly businesses or enterprises with fewer than 10 employees and turnover or assets not exceeding €2 million);
- c. Charities with an annual income net of tax of less than £1 million;
- d. Clubs, associations or organisations, the affairs of which are managed by its members or a committee of its members, with an annual income net of tax of less than £1 million;
- e. Trustees of trusts with an asset value of less than £1 million; and
- f. Personal representatives or beneficiaries of the estates of persons who, before they died, had not referred the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.
14. You can contact the Legal Ombudsman at: Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ. Telephone number: 0300 555 0333. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
15. More information about the Legal Ombudsman is available on their website: http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/
16. If you are unhappy with the outcome of the investigation, alternative complaints bodies also exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services, should you and the barrister both wish to use such a scheme. If you wish us to consider such a method, please contact us within 28 days to discuss this. Please also note that if mediation is used, neither you nor the barrister is required to accept the proposed resolution. If mediation does not resolve the complaint, you may still make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman (provided you fall within their jurisdiction and you do so within the time limit).
17. 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 Contact and Assessment Team
289-293 High Holborn
Telephone number: 0207 6111 444
Barrister Register: Barristers' Register page