Complaints Procedure

 

INTRODUCTION

1. 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.

2. Please note that 4 Brick Court Chambers will only consider complaints that are raised within:

a) 12 months from the date of the act/omission

b) Three years from the date that the complainant should reasonably have known there were grounds for complaint (if the act/mission took place before 6 October 2010 or was more than six years ago)

COMPLAINTS MADE BY TELEPHONE

3. You may wish to make a complaint in writing and, if so, please follow the procedure in paragraph 4 and 5 below. However, if you would rather speak on the telephone about your complaint then please telephone 020 7832 3200 and ask to speak to the individual nominated under the 4 Brick Court Chambers Complaints Procedure to deal with complaints – our Managing Clerk, Clive Barrett. If the complaint is about the Managing Clerk please ask to speak to the Head of Chambers, Ian Griffin. The person you contact will make a note of the details of your complaint and what you would like done about it. S/he will discuss your concerns with you and aim to resolve them. If the matter is resolved s/he 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.

4. 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 it can be investigated formally.

COMPLAINTS MADE IN WRITING

5. Please give the following details:

• Your name and address
• Which barrister or member of staff are you complaining about
• The detail of the complaint
• What you would like done about it

Please address your letter to the Managing Clerk, 4 Brick Court Chambers, 4 Brick Court, Temple, London, EC4Y 9AD or via email to clive.barrett@4bc.co.uk. Alternatively, you should address your letter to the Head of Chambers if your complaint is regarding the Managing Clerk or via email to ian.griffin@4bc.co.uk. 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.

6. 4 Brick Court Chambers has a panel headed by the Head of Chambers, and made up of experienced members of Chambers which considers any written complaint. Within 14 days of your letter being received the head of the panel, or his deputy in his absence, will appoint a member of the panel to investigate it. If your complaint is against the head of the panel, the next most senior member of the panel will investigate it. In any case, the person appointed will be someone other than the person you are complaining about.

7. The person appointed to investigate will reply to your complaint within 14 days. If s/he finds later that s/he is not going to be able to reply within 14 days s/he will set a new date for his/her reply and inform you. His/her reply will set out:

• The nature and scope of his/her investigation;
• His/her conclusion on each complaint and the basis for his/her conclusion; and
• If s/he finds that you are justified in your complaint his/her proposals to resolve the complaint.

CONFIDENTIALITY

8. 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 Chair of the management committee, members of our management committee and to anyone involved in the complaint and its investigation. Such people will include the barrister member or staff who you have complained about, the head or relevant senior member of the panel and the person who investigates the complaint. The Bar Standards Board is entitled to inspect the documents and seek information about the complaint when discharging its auditing and monitoring functions.

OUR POLICY

9. 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 ONBUDSMAN

10. If you are unhappy with the outcome you may take up your complaint with the Legal Ombudsman. Please note that the Legal Ombudsman has time limits in which a complaint must be raised with them. In particular, there is a six month time limit from the conclusion of the investigation by 4 Brick Court Chambers in which to raise your complaint with the Legal Ombudsman. The time limits are below:

a) Six years from the date of the act/omission

b) Three years from the date that the complainant should reasonably have known there were grounds for complaint (if the act/commission took place before 6 October 2010 or was more than six years ago)

c) 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 remain dissatisfied and the provision of full contact details for the Ombudsman and a warning complaint must be referred to them within six months)

You can write to them at:

Complaints Team
Legal Ombudsman
PO Box 6806
Wolverhampton
WV1 9WJ

Telephone: 0300 555 0333
Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk
Website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk