Complaints Procedure

Our aim is to give you a good service at all times. However, if you have a complaint, you are encouraged to let us know as soon as possible. The barristers and staff/clerks providing the direct access services on this site are also all Members of Crown Office Row Chambers in Brighton and, as such, are subject to external regulation by the Bar Standards Board and to the complaint handling procedures of that Chambers.

Complaints made by Telephone
Complaints about barristers: if you have a complaint about a barrister and you would rather make it by telephone then please call the barrister concerned or, if you prefer, our Senior Clerk in Brighton, David Bingham.

Complaints about Staff: if you have a complaint about a member of staff or clerk, please call the Senior Clerk in Brighton, David Bingham. If you wish to make a complaint about the Senior Clerk in Brighton, please call the Chambers Director, Andrew Meyler on (who is based in London at 020 7797 7500, email Andrew.meyler@1cor.com

The person you contact will make a note of the details of your complaint and what you would like done about it. He or she will discuss your concerns with you and aim to resolve them. If the matter is resolved, he or she 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 for your own record.

If your complaint is not resolved on the telephone, you will be invited to write to us about it within the following 14 days so it can be investigated more formally.

Complaints made in Writing
If you wish to complain about a barrister or member of staff in writing, please give the following details: your name and address, which barrister or member of staff you are complaining about; the detail of the complaint; and what you would like done about it. For complaints about barristers, please address your letter to our Head of Crown Office Row Brighton, James King-Smith or, if you prefer, to the Head of Chambers at 1 Crown Office Row in London, Philip Havers QC. For complaints about staff, please address your letter to our Chambers Director, Andrew Meyler at 1 Crown Office Row, London. Our address in Brighton is – Crown Office Row,119 Church Street, Brighton, BN1 IUD. Our address in London is – 1 Crown Office Row, Temple, London EC4Y 7HH.

Your letter will be acknowledged within 7 days and an investigation will take place. In the case of a complaint about a barrister, this will be led by the Head of Crown Office Row Brighton, assisted, as necessary, by the Chambers Director and the Senior Clerk in Brighton. If the complaint is about the Head of Crown Office Row Brighton, the investigation will be led by the Head of Chambers at 1 Crown Office Row, London. In the case of a member of staff, the investigation will be conducted by the Chambers Director personally, in consultation with the Senior Clerk in Brighton.

In acknowledging receipt of your letter, you will normally be informed that you should expect a substantive response to your complaint within 14 days. In exceptional circumstances, a longer period may be fixed or if the “investigator” of the complaint finds out later that more time will be needed, he or she will set a new date for his/her substantive reply explaining why more time is needed. His/her substantive reply will set out –

  • the nature and scope of the investigation;
  • his/her conclusion on each complaint and the reason for it; and
  • if your complaint is found to be partially or fully justified, his/her proposals for resolving it.

Complaints which may give rise to an Insurance Claim
If your complaint involves a matter which may give rise to an insurance claim, the barrister will be obliged to inform the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund (the Bar’s insurer). The BMIF will then need to be consulted before any proposals can be put to you to resolve your complaint. This may constrain the speed with which we are able to respond in these circumstances.

Confidentiality
All conversations and documents relating to the complaint will be treated as confidential and will be disclosed only to the extent that is necessary. In all cases, in addition to the person complained about, the Head of Chambers and the Chambers Director will be aware of the complaint since they maintain a central written record of all complaint cases wherever they have arisen.

Our Policy
As part of our commitment to improving client care, the central written record of complaints is reviewed regularly and any points arising which indicate a need for us to adjust an existing practice or procedure are brought to the attention of the Chambers Management Committee.

Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman or to the Bar Standards Board
We hope that you will use our procedure. However, if you would rather not do so or are unhappy with the outcome, you have the option of taking your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman or to the Bar Standards Board.

The Legal Ombudsman has the responsibility for dealing with complaints from our clients about the quality of our service. The Ombudsman will expect us to try to address such complaints in the first instance but will step in to do so if that proves not to be possible. You can put your complaint to the Ombudsman at –
Tel: 0300 555 0333
Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk
Address: Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 15870, Birmingham B30 9EB
Website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk

If your complaint is about the professional conduct of one of our barristers then it would be more appropriate to address your complaint to the Bar Standards Board (the regulatory body for barristers) by writing to them at –

Complaints Department

Bar Standards Board
289-293 High Holborn,
London WC1V 7HZ
Tel:  020 7611 1444
Fax: 020 7831 9217
www.barstandardsboard.org.uk