If you are a solicitor or a member of the public and you wish to make a complaint about a barrister this is the procedure which we require you to follow in order for your complaint to be dealt with properly and efficiently.
The procedure is as follows.
- Your complaint must be made within 3 months of the date of completion of the work by the barrister.
- You will complete the Complaint Form setting out the details of your complaint and your desired outcome. Please note that your complaint must be precisely and succintly summarised (limited to 500 words) in the Complaint Form.
- Please do not send or provide copies of any documents which you refer to to in the Complaint Form unless requested to so by the investigator.
- Clerksroom reserves the right not to deal with any complaint made otherwise than by way of the Complaint Form and in accordance with these procedures and requirements.
- Upon successful submission of the Complaint Form, we will immediately acknowledge your complaint by email providing you with a reference number. Please note if you do not receive an acknowledgment your complaint may not have been received.
- Your complaint will be forwarded to the barrister who will be invited to provide us with a response to your complaint using the Complaint Response Form.
- Upon receipt of the barrister’s response we will investigate your complaint taking into account the matters set out in the Complaint Form and the Complaint Response Form.
- Your complaint will be referred to and dealt with by an independent, 3rd party investigator. ("the investigator").
- Where appropriate, the investigator may, in his or her sole discretion, seek further information or clarification of the complaint either from you or the barrister or both.
- The task of the investigator is to assess whether the barrister has provided you with a proper service. If the investigator thinks your complaint raises allegations concerning breach of the barrister’s professional duties or allegations of professional negligence, those issues will not be decided by the investigator and may need to be referred to the Legal Ombudsman and/or the Bar Standards Board.
- The investigator's decision which will be a full and final decision, will be recorded on "the Complaint Decision Form".
- We will endeavour to send a copy of the investigator's decision to you within 28 days of the date of receipt of your complaint. Where more time is required, the investigator will email you the revised timescale, informing you why more time is required.
- Please note that if allegations of negligence or professional misconduct are made against the barrister, the decision or recommendation of the investigator may be that the matter should be referred directly to the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund, the Legal Ombudsman or the Bar Standards Board.
You must contact the Legal Ombudsman either within 6 months following the conclusion of our handling your complaint, within 6 years from the date of the act/omission, or 3 years from the date that you should reasonably have known there were grounds for complaint (if the act/omission took place before the 6 October 2010 or was more than six years ago).
The Legal Ombudsman’s details are as follows:
PO Box 6806
Tel: 0300 555 0333
We will retain all documents and communications relating to any complaint for a period of 5 years and then the data will be removed from our systems. For more information about our GDPR policies, click here.
Review and Monitoring:
Clerksroom will continually monitor complaints received and handled by the third-party investigator and will conduct a review of complaints on a quarterly basis. Such review will consist of investigating: the number of complaints within the period in questions; the percentage of the number of instructions received in that period; the areas of law in which the complaints were made; multiple complaints against the same barristers; the nature of the complaints; the findings of complaints; the timescale for resolution of complaints; any referrals to the Legal Ombudsman and findings by them; any trends identified; any training issues; and any other actions arising.
This review will form part of our commitment to continuous improvement.