Complaints

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Should you have a complaint that you wish to raise, we wish to know about it. You can find our Client Complaints Procedure below, or in pdf form here.

Client Complaint Procedure

1. 33 Bedford Row chambers aims to provide an excellent quality of service at all times. We value feedback of all kinds which is used to improve our service provision and to recognise success.

2. If, however, you have a complaint about the services provided to you we invite you to use the complaints procedure set out below. The procedure is intended to be simple and straightforward with a view to achieving resolution at the earliest opportunity.

3. Our procedure is free and you do not need to use the services of a solicitor or professional. We invite you to raise any issue of complaint as soon as reasonable practicable on the basis that the older the complaint the more difficult it can be to investigate it fully and fairly. If for any reason, you consider yourself vulnerable or in need of special consideration please let us know and we will do our best to agree with you any reasonable adjustments to assist you in making your complaint.

4. We ask that you make any complaint as soon as possible after the event. Normally, complaints more than 6 months old are difficult to investigate in any detail though we treat any complaint on its merits and consider any special circumstances.

5. Please address all complaints (whether written or by telephone) to our Senior clerk, Gary Reed (g.reed@33bedfordrow.co.uk) or alternatively to Mark Venables (m.venables@33bedfordrow.co.uk). Either will be pleased to help you or will try in the first instance to see if matters can be put right informally and promptly.

6. If the complaint is about the Senior clerk or the Business Manager then please contact either of the Joint Heads of Chambers, Constance Whippman (c.whippman@33bedfordrow.co.uk) or Neil Mercer (n.mercer@33bedfordrow.co.uk) or if neither is available then to our Deputy Head of Chambers, Fiona Munro (f.munro@33bedfordrow.co.uk).

7. If your telephone complaint cannot be resolved informally and you wish to proceed with a written complaint then please ensure you provide the following:

• Your name and contact details;

• The name of the person complained about;

• The precise nature of the complaint, what happened, when and where;

• How you would like the complaint to be resolved.

8. Time scales for resolution Chambers aims to acknowledge all written complaints within 5 working days of receipt. We try to expedite dealing with your complaint by using email wherever possible but it is not necessary to use email if this is not convenient for you. We aim to bring the process to a conclusion within 28 days though if the complaint is complex it may take a little longer.

9. How the procedure works

Upon receipt of your complaint an investigation is undertaken which includes showing your complaint to the person complained of and asking for his or her response to the matters you have raised. This response is then passed on to you for any further comments you wish to make. Any other relevant information is obtained.

The complaint is then considered by either one of the joint heads of Chambers or the Deputy Head of Chambers or, where appropriate, delegated to a senior Member of the Management Committee with the relevant experience.

Once the documentation is collected then the complaint and the evidence is reviewed. You will receive a substantive reply which will include:

• The nature and scope of any investigation;

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

• In the case of a complaint which is found to be justified, proposals for resolution

10. Confidentiality

All conversations and documents relating to the complaint will be treated as confidential and will be disclosed only by the extent that it is necessary. Disclosure will be to the Heads of Chambers and the Deputy Head, members of the Chambers management Committee, as set out above and to anyone involved in the complaint and its investigation. The Bar Standards Board is entitled to inspect the documents and seek information about the complaint when it is discharging its auditing and monitoring functions.

Finally, complaints will be discussed with the clerks where it is necessary to look at issues arising relating to service protocols.

As part of our commitment to client care, we make a written record of formal complaints and retail all documents and correspondence generated by the complaint for a period of 6 years. A summary of the (anonymised) record is inspected regularly with a view to improving services.

Complaints to the Legal Services Ombudsman

We hope you will use our procedure. However, if you would rather not do so or are unhappy with the outcome you may refer to the Legal Ombudsman. The Legal Ombudsman has time limits and in particular there is normally a time limit from our final decision in which to complain from the date of the act or omission about which you are complaining. Please consider the Ombudsman’s website for the most up to date information and guidance on any time limits that may affect you and any relevant guidance on the service.

You can contact the Legal Ombudsman at: http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk

Office of the Legal Ombudsman 
Legal Ombudsman
PO Box 6806
Wolverhampton
WV1 9WJ