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COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE - UPDATED DECEMBER 2020


1. The aim of the barristers and staff of Cumbria Law Chambers is to provide all of our clients with the highest level of 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. Please note that the Legal Ombudsman, the independent complaints body for service complaints about lawyers, also has a 6 year time limit from the date of the act or omission or 3 years from when the complainant should have reasonably known that there were grounds for a complaint. We must therefore have regard to that timeframe when deciding whether we are able to investigate complaints.

3. The Ombudsman will also only deal with complaints from consumers. This means that only complaints from the barrister's client are within their jurisdiction. Non-clients who are not satisfied with the outcome of the Chambers' investigation should contact the Bar Standards Board rather than the Legal Ombudsman.

4. 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 they feel that the issues raised cannot be satisfactorily resolved through the Chambers complaints process they will refer you to the Bar Standards Board at the address provided below.

Complaints made by telephone

5. You may wish to make a complaint in writing and, if so, please follow the procedure in paragraph 7 below. However, if you would rather speak on the telephone about your complaint then please telephone our Practice Administrator, Sue McGee. If the complaint is about the Practice Administrator you should telephone Dr. Tristan McGee. The person you contact will make a note of the details of your complaint and what you would like done about it. They will discuss your concerns with you and aim to resolve them. If the matter is resolved they 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.

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

Complaints made in writing

7. Please give the following details:

  • Your name and address;
  • Which member of Chambers you are complaining about;
  • Detail of the complaint; and
  • What you would like done about it.

Please address your letter to Mrs. Sue McGee, Practice Administrator. 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.

8. Within 7 days of your letter being received Dr. Tristan McGee will investigate it. He will write to you as soon as possible to let you know that he will reply to your complaint within 14 days. If he finds later that he is not going to be able to reply within 14 days he will set a new date for his reply and inform you. His reply will set out: 

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

Confidentiality

9. All conversations and documents relating to the complaint will be treated as confidential and will be disclosed only to the extent that is necessary. 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

10. 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.

Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman

11. 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, 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 contact the office of the Ombudsman on:

Telephone: 0300 555 0333

or write to:

Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ.

Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk.

For further information visit www.legalombudsman.org.uk . Clients who have a right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman are individuals, small businesses and charities.

The full list of who can complain to the Legal Ombudsman can be found here.

The Legal Ombudsman’s decision data shows providers which received an Ombudsman’s decision in the previous 12 months. The Legal Ombudsman’s decision data can be found here.

12. 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 : www.barstandardsboard.org.uk



Chambers Guiding Principles

  • to aim for the best result for you
  • to approach your case with determination to win
  • to have the resolve to succeed
  • to work together as a team
  • to keep our fees highly competitive

For information on Fees refer our Terms of Business

Please visit our specialist sections for more information.

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