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Complaints Procedure

My aim is to give you a good service at all times, but if you do have a complaint with the service that you receive from me then you are invited to let me know as soon as possible. In the first instance, you should contact me to discuss any concerns and I will do my best to resolve any issues at that stage.You are welcome to email me or telephone me with your concerns. However, if you would like to make a formal complaint,my complaints procedure is as follows:

 

Complaints made by telephone

If you would rather speak on the telephone about your complaint, then please telephone me on 07472 736949. I will make a note of the details of your complaint and what you would like done about it. I will discuss your concerns with you and aim to resolve them on the telephone. If after discussion you are satisfied with the outcome, I will make a note of the outcome and the fact that you are satisfied. You may also wish to record the outcome of the telephone discussion in writing.

If your complaint is not resolved on the telephone, I will invite you to write to me about it within 14 days of the outcome, so that it can be investigated more formally.

Complaints made in writing

If you wish to make a written complaint, please give the following details:

  • your name, telephone number and address;

  • the details of your complaint (what went wrong); and

  • what you would like done about it.

Please send your complaint by email to chambers@stkatharines.com or by letter to Practice Management, St Katharine’s Chambers, St Katharines House, Main Street, York YO23 7DN.

There are a number of ways in which your complaint may be dealt with:

  • Discussion over the telephone;

  • Dealt with by correspondence;

  • Discussion at a meeting between us;

  • The appointment of an independent person to investigate the complaint (for example a barrister in another chambers).

 

If we decide to appoint an independent person to investigate the complaint, we both would need to agree whom to appoint. An independent person who has considerable experience in the area that is the subject matter of the dispute should be chosen.

Upon receipt of a written complaint, I will write to you as soon as possible to acknowledge the complaint and giving a timescale for a full response, which will be within two months of receipt of the complaint, depending on the complexities of the issues and the amount of the investigations required. I will offer you the opportunity to meet with me if that is appropriate.

My final written response will set out

  • the nature and scope of my investigation;

  • my conclusion on each complaint and the basis for my conclusion; and

  • my proposals for resolving the complaint, if it is found that that the complaint was justified.

 

Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman/alternative dispute resolution

If you are unhappy with my final written response and you fall within their jurisdiction, then you can have the complaint independently looked at by the Legal Ombudsman. The Legal Ombudsman investigates problems about poor service from lawyers. Please note that the Legal Ombudsman only deals with complaints from a barrister’s client. A non-client who is not satisfied with the outcome of our investigation can contact the Bar Standards Board – see below.

 

Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with me first. If you have, the time limits in which you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman are:

  • Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint and

  • No more than one year from the date of the act/omission; or

  • No more than one year from when you should reasonably have known that there was cause for complaint.

 

I must have regard to that timeframe when deciding whether I am able to investigate your complaint. I will not usually deal with complaints that fall outside the Legal Ombudsman’s time limits.

 

If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman please contact them. The contact details are:

 

Decisions by the Legal Ombudsman can be accessed here Ombudsman decision data | Legal Ombudsman.

 

In addition, if you are unhappy with the outcome of my investigation, alternative complaints bodies (such as ProMediate www.promediate.co.uk) also exist which can deal with complaints about legal services, should you and I both wish to use such a scheme. If you wish to use ProMediate, please contact me to discuss this. Please contact ProMediate to find out more details about the scheme, including any applicable time limits about using the scheme. Please note that, if mediation is used, neither you nor I are required to accept the proposed solution. If mediation does not resolve the complaint, you may still make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, provided you fall within their jurisdiction and you do so within the time limit.

 

Non-Clients

If you are not my client, you can nonetheless complain to me using the procedure set out above. It should be noted , however, that it may not always be possible to investigate a complaint brought by a non-client. This is because my ability 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 I will make an initial assessment of the complaint and, if I feel that the issues raised cannot be satisfactorily resolved through my complaints process, I will refer you to the Bar Standards Board. Furthermore, if I carry out an investigation, but you are unhappy with the outcome, then please contact the Bar Standards Board:

  • Bar Standards Board, Contact and Assessment Team, 289-293 High Holborn, London WC1V 7JZ

  • Telephone 0207 6111 444

  • www.barstandardsboard.org.uk

 

Confidentiality

I will treat your complaint as confidential and discuss your complaint only to the extent that is necessary for its resolution and to comply with requests for information from the Bar Standards Board. This may include discussion with other barristers or officials from the Bar Standards Board. The Bar Standards Board is entitled to inspect the documents and seek information about the complaint when discharging its monitoring functions.

 

My Policy

As part of my commitment to client care I will make a written record of any complaint with a view to improving my services.

I will retain all correspondence and other documents generated in the course of your complaint for a period of six years from the date of resolution.

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