Carmelite Chambers’ Procedure if you feel you want to complain

1.    Our aim is to give you a good service at all times. However if you have a complaint you are invited to let us know as soon as possible. It is not necessary to involve solicitors in order to make your complaint but you are free to do so should you wish.     

2.    We treat all complaints very seriously. You may wish to complain by telephone or in writing and the appropriate procedures are set out below. Some complaints may be dealt with informally by discussion and clarification. Other complaints require a formal investigation. Any resolution we reach is subject to appeal to the Legal Ombudsman, whose contact details are set out below.

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 the individual nominated under the Chambers Complaints Procedure to deal with complaints – Orla O’Sullivan, Chambers’ Administrator or (if the complaint is about a member of staff) Dean Allen, Deputy Senior Clerk. If the complaint is about Dean Allen telephone Charles Bott Q.C., Head of Chambers. The person you contact will make a note of the details of your complaint and what action you would like us take.. 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.

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 you are complaining about;      

-  The detail of the complaint; and      

-  What action you would like us take.     

Please address your letter to Orla O’Sullivan, Chambers’ Administrator at Carmelite Chambers, 9 Carmelite Street, London EC4Y 0DR. We will, where possible, acknowledge receipt of your complaint within two days and provide you with details of how your complaint will be dealt with.

6.     Our Chambers has a panel headed by Charles Bott QC and made up of experienced members of Chambers and a senior member of staff, which considers any written complaint. We aim to acknowledge any complaint within 3 days of receipt. Within 14 days of your letter being received 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 next most senior member of the panel will investigate it. In any case, the person appointed will be someone other than the person you are complaining about.

7.     Chambers will write to you as soon as possible to let you know he has been appointed. We aim to have an agreed report on the investigation within 6 weeks. The investigation report will be in writing and will be considered by the full Complaints Panel who may accept, reject or amend the report.

The report will address :     

- The nature and scope of his investigation     

-  The conclusion on each complaint and the basis for the conclusion;     

- If we find  you are justified in your complaint,  proposals for resolving the complaint.     

The final report will be sent to you together with details of how to appeal to the Legal Ombudsman.     We aim to complete all stages within 6 weeks from the initial complaint. Some matters can be dealt with more rapidly; others may take longer. You will be kept in touch with what is happening.

Confidentiality

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 Complaints Panel and to anyone involved in the complaint and its investigation. Such people will include the barrister member or staff who you have complained about, 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.

Our Policy

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.  Our management committee inspects an anonymised record regularly with a view to improving services. Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman

10.If you are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation you may take up your complaint with the Legal Ombudsman, the independent complaints body for complaints about lawyers, at the conclusion of our consideration of your complaint. The Ombudsman is not able to consider your complaint until it has first been investigated by Chambers. Please note that the Legal Ombudsman has a twelve-month time limit from the date of the act or omission about which you are complaining within which to make your complaint. You can write to them at:

Legal Ombudsman PO Box 15870, Birmingham B30 9EB

Telephone number:    0300 555 0333  

Email:            enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk