All of the barristers at 7BR aim to provide the highest level of service to all of their clients, and feedback received suggests that our barristers are largely successful in achieving this aim.
While we hope that the service provided by our barristers is always exemplary, we nevertheless take very seriously all complaints received. It is not necessary to involve solicitors in order to make a complaint about our barristers or staff members, 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 a time limit for investigating complaints. This time limit is up to six years from the date of the problem arising or within three years of when you discovered the problem. Chambers must therefore have regard to this timeframe when deciding whether we are able to investigate your complaint. Chambers will not deal with complaints that fall outside of this time limit.
A hard copy of our Complaints Policy is available upon request from Chambers’ paralegal on 0207 242 3555.
You may wish to make a complaint in writing and, if so, please follow the procedure below. If you would rather speak on the telephone about your complaint, then please contact our Complaints Officer, Harry Charlton, (Chambers’ CEO) on 020 7242 3555. He will make a note of the details of your complaint and what you are requesting to be 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 it as such. You may also wish to record the outcome of the telephone discussion in writing. We will also send you a letter to confirm the outcome.
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 that it may be investigated formally.
If you decide to put your complaint in writing please include following details:
Please address your letter to the Complaints Officer, 7BR, London, WC1R 4BS. They will, where possible, acknowledge receipt of your complaint within seven days and provide you with details of how your complaint will be dealt with.
The Complaints Officer will investigate your complaint fully and reply within 42 days from the date of your original complaint. This is well within the eight week time frame stipulated by the Legal Ombudsman. If they subsequently discover that they are unable to reply within 42 days, they will set a new date for reply and explain why they cannot reply within 42 days. This may be because they require more information from you, the barrister, or other parties involved in your case.
Once they has completed their investigation the Complaints Officer will reply setting out:
There may be occasions when the Complaints Officer, in conjunction with the Head of Chambers, decides that your complaint should be investigated by a Panel or another barrister. If such a decision is made then the Head of the Panel or the nominated barrister will reply to you with the information listed above.
All conversations and documents relating to your complaint will be treated as confidential and will be disclosed only to the extent necessary. Disclosure will be to the Head of Chambers, members of 7BR’s Management Committee, and to anyone involved in your complaint and its investigation. Such people will include the barrister(s) or member(s) of staff who you have complained about, the person or people who investigate your complaint, and such other individuals whom the person(s) investigating your complaint consider it necessary to disclose information to in order to ensure that your complaint is investigated fairly and expediently.
The Bar Standards Board is also entitled to inspect documents relating to complaints and to seek information about complaints when discharging its auditing and monitoring functions.
As part of our commitment to client care we make a written record of all complaints, and retain all documents and correspondence generated by complaints for at least six years from the date of the act or omission complained of, and for at least three years from the date we received the complaint.
Our Management Committee regularly reviews the complaints which we receive, with a view to improving our services.
If you are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation you may take up your complaint with the Legal Ombudsman, (the independent complaints body for complaints about lawyers) within six months of the final decision being issued by Chambers. The Legal Ombudsman is not able to consider your complaint until it has first been investigated by Chambers.
You can write to the Legal Ombudsman at:
PO Box 6806
Telephone: 0300 555 0333
You can view the Legal Ombudsman’s decision data here.
7BR will not always investigate complaints brought by non-clients. This is because our ability 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.
If you are a non-client who raises a complaint, we will make an initial assessment of your complaint. If you are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation, you may wish to contact the Bar Standards Board:
Bar Standards Board
Professional Conduct Department
289-293 High Holborn
Telephone: 020 7611 1444