Chambers Complaints Procedure
1. Our aim is to give you a good service at all times. If you have a complaint, let us know as soon as possible. A complaint can be raised by a professional client (solicitor, accountant, tax adviser) or by the lay client.
2. Complaints should be raised within six months of the act or omission giving rise to the complaint.
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 David Southern QC, a senior member of Chambers who is head of our Complaints’ Panel. If the complaint is about Mr Southern then contact the Chair of the Management Committee Alun James. The person you contact will make a note of the details of your complaint and what you would like 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 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 member(s) of Chambers or member of staff you are complaining about;
- The detail of the complaint; and
- What you would like done about it.
Please address your letter to David Southern QC, Temple Tax Chambers, 1st Floor, 3 Temple Gardens, Temple, London EC4Y 9AU. We will, where possible, acknowledge receipt of your complaint within three days and provide you with details of how your complaint will be dealt with.
6. Any written complaint is considered by the Complaints’ Panel, which is headed by David Southern QC and made up of experienced members of Chambers. Within 14 days of receipt of your letter 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 most senior of the other members of the Panel will investigate it.
In any event, the person appointed will be someone other than the person you are complaining about.
7. The person appointed to investigate will write to you as soon as possible to let you know he has been appointed and that he will reply to your complaint within 14 days. If he finds later that he is not going to be able to reply within 14 days he will set a new date for his reply and inform you. His reply will set out:
- The nature and scope of his investigation;
- His conclusion on each complaint and the basis for his conclusion;
- If he finds that you are justified in your complaint, his proposals for resolving the complaint.
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 head 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 about whom you have complained, 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.
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.
Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman
10. We hope that you will be happy with the outcome. However, if you are not, you may take up your complaint with the Legal Ombudsman at the conclusion of the process (or in any event after 8 weeks if we have failed to deal with your complaint to your satisfaction), provided that you must refer such complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within 6 months of your last contact with us or the member of Chambers in question.
The contact details for the Legal Ombudsman are as follows:
Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806
Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ
Tel: 0300 555 0333
See also: www.legalombudsman.org.uk
Legal Ombudsman Decision Data can be found here: https://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/raising-standards/data-and-decisions/#ombudsman-decision-data