Complaints Procedure


  1. Barristers and staff at 7KBW aim to give you a good service at all times.  If at any time you have concerns about the service you have received from our barristers or staff, you are invited to let us know as soon as possible. Please note that Chambers will normally only consider complaints that are raised within six months of the act or omission complained of.
  2. In the first instance we would encourage you to discuss any day-to-day concerns about the services of our barristers directly with them. Any such concerns can also be raised with our Senior Clerk, Greg Leyden.
  3. Any concerns about members of staff should be raised with our Senior Clerk, Greg Leyden. If the concern is about our Senior Clerk, please speak to the Head of Chambers, Gavin Kealey Q.C.
  4. We would very much hope that your concern can be resolved at this stage and that you will be content with the outcome.
  5. However, if you feel that the matter has not been dealt with to your satisfaction, you may wish to make a complaint. We have set out below our procedure for dealing with such complaints.

Complaints Procedure

  1. If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of the service provided by a barrister or by anyone at 7KBW and you wish to make a complaint, you are invited in the first instance to telephone the Head of Chambers, Gavin Kealey Q.C. If the matter can be resolved over the telephone, the outcome will be noted in Chambers’ records, along with details of the complaint, but we would invite you to make your own note.  However, if you prefer or if, having made a complaint over the telephone to the Head of Chambers, you are dissatisfied with the outcome, please send us your complaint in writing, by letter addressed to Gavin Kealey Q.C. at 7 King’s Bench Walk, Temple EC4Y 7DS, London.  Please make sure that you include the following details: your name and address, which member(s) of Chambers or member(s) of staff you are complaining about, the detail of the complaint, and what you would like done about it. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of this telephone call, or if you make your complaint first by writing, we will also send you a copy of this complaints procedure if you have not already been provided with it.
  2. We will acknowledge your written complaint by writing to you, if possible within 2 working days (and in any event promptly), and provide you with a date by which you will next here from us.
  3. 7KBW has a panel headed by the Head of Chambers and made up of experienced members of Chambers and senior members of staff which considers any written complaint. The Head of Chambers (or, if the complaint concerns the Head of Chambers, the next most senior member of the panel) will, within 14 days of acknowledging your complaint, appoint a member of the panel to investigate your complaint.  The person investigating the complaint will be someone other than the person you are complaining about.
  4. As soon as reasonably practical after their appointment , the person investigating your complaint will contact you and inform you that they will be investigating your complaint and that they will reply to your complaint within 14 days. If it becomes clear that a response cannot be provided to you within 14 days, a realistic timeframe will be set by the same person and you will be informed of this.  The reply to your complaint will set out:
    • Details of the complaint(s);
    • The nature and scope of the investigation;
    • The conclusion (on each complaint) of the individual investigating the complaint(s), and the basis for that conclusion;
    • If he/she finds your complaint to be justified, his/her proposals for resolving the complaint.
  5. If your complaint involves a matter which may give rise to an insurance claim, the member(s) of Chambers to whom it relates will be obliged to inform their insurers, who will then need to be consulted before any proposals can be put to you to resolve your complaint. This may affect the speed with which we are able to respond to complaints in these circumstances.
  6. You may be entitled to take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman if you do not receive a final response from us within 8 weeks of your initial complaint.
  7. A copy of the reply to your complaint will be provided to the person against whom the complaint was made.
  8. It should be noted that it may not always be possible to investigate a complaint brought by a non-client. This is because the ability of Chambers 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. Therefore, Chambers will make an initial assessment of the complaint and if we feel that the issues raised cannot be satisfactorily resolved through the Chambers complaints process we will refer you to the Bar Standards Board.
  9. Please note that in determining whether we are able to investigate a complaint, we will have regard to the applicable time limit for making a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman (as explained below). We will not normally deal with a complaint that falls outside the time limit applicable to a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.

Confidentiality

  1. 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 individuals will include the barrister or member of staff you have complained about, and the person who investigates the complaint.
  2. The Bar Standards Board is entitled to inspect the documents and seek information about your complaint when discharging its auditing and monitoring functions.

 

Our policy

  1. As part of our commitment to client care we make a written record of each complaint, and any correspondence or documents generated in the investigation of the complaint. Such documents will be kept for a minimum of 6 years (from resolution of the complaint where it is resolved) and in accordance with our data retention policy.
  2. The Chambers complaints file is inspected regularly by the Management Committee. Documents are anonymised where necessary. The Head of Chambers will report at least annually to the management committee on the number of complaints received, the subject areas of the complaints and the outcomes. Such reports will anonymise the details of individual complaints but the complaints will be reviewed for trends and possible training issues, with a view to improving services.

 

Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman

  1. If you have tried resolving your complaint with us but we are unable to help you then you may be able to have the complaint independently looked at by the Legal Ombudsman.
  2. The Legal Ombudsman investigates problems about poor service from lawyers. The Legal Ombudsman can only deal with complaints from consumers of our services. This means that only complaints from a client of a member of Chambers are within the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction. The Legal Ombudsman can also only deal with complaints from individuals and certain other entities.  If you are not a client of Chambers, otherwise cannot apply to the Legal Ombudsman, or if your complaint is about the professional conduct of one of our barristers and not about the quality of our service, then it would be more appropriate to address your complaint to the Bar Standards Board.
  3. The Legal Ombudsman’s time limits for investigating complaints are:
    1. Within 6 months of receiving our final response to your complaint (provided that the response complies with the requirements in rule 4.4 of the Legal Ombudsman’s Scheme Rules (which requires the response to include prominently an explanation that the Legal Ombudsman was available if the complainant remained dissatisfied, and the provision of full contact details for the Ombudsman and a warning that the complaint must be referred to them within six months)); and
    2. No later than six years from the act/omission complained of, or three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
  4. The act or omission, or when you should have reasonably known there was cause for complaint, must have been after 5 October 2010.
  5. The Legal Ombudsman can extend the time limits referred to in paragraph 21 above in exceptional circumstances.
  6. If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman their contact details are as follows:

    Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk.
    Call: 0300 555 0333
    Write to: Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ.
    Visit: www.legalombudsman.org.uk.

    You may also be able to use the Legal Ombudsman’s online contact form.

 

Complaints to the Bar Standards Board (the regulatory body for barristers)

  1. We hope that you will use our complaints procedure.  However, if you would rather not do so or are unhappy with the outcome, you may take up your complaint with the Bar Standards Board at any time. If we are unable to satisfactorily resolve your complaint we may refer it to the Bar Standards Board. You can contact the Bar Standards Board at:

    Bar Standards Board,
    Contact and Assessment Team,
    289-293 High Holborn,
    London WC1V 7HZ
    Telephone number: 0207 6111 444
    Website: www.barstandardsboard.org.uk.
    Email: contactus@barstandardsboard.org.uk

    You may also be able to use the Bar Standards Board’s online reporting form.

 

December  2021