Complaints policy

1.Temple Court Chambers, Cardiff aims to give you a good service at all times. However if you have a complaint, please let us know as soon as possible. You do not have to involve solicitors to make your complaint, but you can do so if you wish.  This document explains our complaints policy and how to make a complaint.  If you have any questions about anything in this document, please contact: David Brinning, Senior Clerk on 02920 786 509 or emaildavid@templeccc.co.uk.  Temple Court Chambers’ Equality and Diversity Policy also applies to this complaints policy.  Please contact David Brinning if you need this document in an alternative format.

2. This policy explains how Temple Court Chambers addresses complaints from clients.  It may not always be possible to investigate a complaint brought by someone who isn’t our client.  We give you more information about this in paragraph 5 below.

2. Please note that the Legal Ombudsman, the independent complaints body for service complaints about lawyers, has time limits in which a complaint must be raised with them. The time limits are:

a) Six years from the date of the act/omission

b) Three years from the date that the complainant 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)

c) Within six months of the complaint receiving a final response from their lawyer, if that response complies with the requirements in rule 4.4 of the Scheme Rules.  This requires the response to prominently include:

  • an explanation that the Legal Ombudsman was available if the complainant remained dissatisfied
  • provision of full contact details for the Ombudsman
  • a warning that the complaint must be referred to the Ombudsman within six months.

3. The Ombudsman can extend the time limit in exceptional circumstances. This means that Chambers will bear in mind the timeframe when deciding whether we are able to investigate your complaint. This means that Chambers will not usually deal with complaints that fall outside of the Legal Ombudsman’s time limits.

4. The Ombudsman will also only deal with complaints from consumers. This means that only complaints from the barrister’s client are within their jurisdiction.  If you are not a client and you are not satisfied with the outcome of the Chambers’ investigation should contact the Bar Standards Board rather than the Legal Ombudsman.

5. Please bear in mind that it may not always be possible to investigate a complaint brought by someone who isn’t our client. This is because the ability of Chambers to satisfactorily investigate and resolve such matters is limited and this type of complaint may be better dealt with by the Bar Standards Board disciplinary processes. This means 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.  We will give you more details about this process if we need to refer you.  You can find contact details for the Bar Standards Board in paragraph 15 below.

Making a complaint by telephone

6. You can make your complaint in writing or by telephone.  If you want to make your complaint in writing, please follow the procedure in paragraph 8 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 .  This is the Senior Clerk, David Brinning .   If the complaint is about the Senior Clerk, please contact Harry Baker, who is the Secretary of the Management Committee.

7. The person you contact will make a note of the details of your complaint and what you would like to have 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
  • record that you are satisfied.
  • write to you summarising your complaint, confirming the outcome and that you are satisfied with the outcome

You may also wish to record the outcome of the telephone discussion in writing.

7. If your complaint is not resolved on the telephone you will be invited to write to us about it so it can be investigated formally.

Making complaint in writing

8. If you make a complaint in writing, we need you to give us some information.  This is to help us to investigate the complaint and to keep good records.  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 you would like done about it.

When you write to us, please be as clear and concise as possible and focus on the key information.  This may help you to make sure that we understand the points that are important to you and this can help us to investigate your complaint as effectively as possible.

9. Please address your letter to David Brinning, Senior Clerk at Temple Court Chambers, 13a Cathedral Road, Cardiff, CF11 9HA. We will aim to acknowledge receipt of your complaint within two working days of receiving it and will give you details of how your complaint will be dealt with.

10. Our Chambers has a panel which considers any written complaint. The panel is headed by the Head of Chambers  and made up of experienced members of Chambers and a senior member of staff. 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.

11. The person appointed to investigate will write to you as soon as possible to let you know s/he has been appointed and that /she will reply to your complaint within 14 days. If s/he finds later that he is not going to be able to reply within 14 days s/he will set a new date for his reply and inform you. The investigating panel member’s reply will explain:

• The nature and scope of the investigation;
• The conclusion on each complaint and the basis for that conclusion; and
• If s/he finds that you are justified in your complaint, the proposals for resolving the complaint.

Confidentiality

12. All conversations and documents (the information) relating to the complaint will be treated as confidential.  Only people who absolutely have to see this information will be told about it. This disclosure will be to:  the Head of Chambers, members of our management committee and to anyone who has to be 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

13. 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

14. If you are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation and you fall within their jurisdiction you may take up your complaint with the Legal Ombudsman, the independent complaints body for complaints about lawyers.  You can do this at the end of our complaints process.  Please bear in mind that the Ombudsman is not able to consider your complaint until it has first been investigated by Chambers. Please bear in mind the timeframe for referral of complaints to the Ombudsman.  You can find this in paragraph 2 above.

The contact details are:

Legal Ombudsman
PO Box 6806,
Wolverhampton
WV1 9WJ

Telephone number: 0300 555 0333
Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

15. If you are not the barrister’s client and are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation then please contact the Bar Standards Board at:

Bar Standards Board
Professional Conduct Department
289-293 High Holborn
London
WC1V 7JZ

Telephone number: 0207 6111 444
Website : http://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/