"At Byrom Street they make the effort to know you and to understand the kind of service you want from a barrister."

Complaints Procedure

 

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.


Complaints made by Telephone


You may wish to make a complaint in writing, if so, please follow the procedure in paragraph 4 below. However, if you would rather speak on the telephone about your complaint then please telephone the individual nominated under Chambers Complaints Procedure to deal with complaints, Terry Creathorn, Senior Clerk or Raymond Machell QC, Head of Chambers. If the complaint is about the Senior Clerk, you are invited to telephone the Head of Chambers, Raymond Machell QC. If your complaint is in respect of the Head of Chambers you will be invited to telephone the Deputy Head of Chambers, Geoffrey Tattersall QC.

 

The person you contact will make a note of the details of your complaint and what you would like to have done about it. She/he will discuss your concerns with you and aim to resolve them. If the matter is resolved she/he 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.
If your complaint is not resolved on the telephone you will be invited to write to us about it so that it can be investigated formally.


Complaints made in Writing


Please give the following details:
Your name and address;
Which member(s) of Chambers, or member(s) of staff you are complaining about;
The detail of the complaint; and
What you would like done about it.


Please address your letter to the Head of Chambers, Raymond Machell QC, Deputy Head of Chambers, Geoffrey Tattersall QC or Senior Clerk, Terry Creathorn at Byrom Street Chambers, 12 Byrom Street, Manchester, M3 4PP. 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.


Your complaint will be dealt with by either: - 


Raymond Machell QC (Head of Chambers) who is a very experienced Silk. He was called to Bar in 1973 and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1988. 

Geoffrey Tattersall QC (Deputy Head of Chambers) who is an equally experienced Silk. He was called to the Bar in 1970 and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1992. Terry Creathorn (Senior Clerk) who has 45 years’ experience.


The Head of Chambers, Deputy Head of Chambers or Senior Clerk (where applicable) will write to you, where possible, within 14 days. If he/she finds later that he/she is not going to be able to reply within 14 days he/she will set a new date for his/her reply and inform you. His/her reply will set out:


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


Confidentiality


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 the management committee, if deemed necessary by the Head of Chambers, 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 of Chambers, Deputy Head of Chambers, the Senior Clerk and any relevant person(s) as required as part of the investigation into 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


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.


Unresolved Complaints


If it has not been possible to settle your complaint using our internal complaints procedure. Alternative complaints bodies such as ProMediate www.promediate.co.uk exist, which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services, should you and Chambers wish to use such a scheme.
Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman


If you are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation and you fall within their jurisdiction you also have a right to complain with the Legal Ombudsman, an independent complaints body, established under the Legal Services Act 2007, which deals with legal services complaints. The Ombudsman is not able to consider your complaint until it has first been investigated by Chambers. The timeframe for referral of complaints to the Ombudsman is set out below.


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 (which requires the response to include prominently an explanation that the Legal Ombudsman was available if the complainant remained dissatisfied and the provision of full contact details for the Ombudsman and a warning that the complaint must be referred to them within six months


The Ombudsman can extend the time limit in exceptional circumstances. Chambers must therefore have regard to that timeframe when deciding whether they are able to investigate your complaint. Chambers will not therefore usually deal with complaints that fall outside of the Legal Ombudsman's time limits.
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.


You can write to them at:
Legal Ombudsman
PO Box 6806,
Wolverhampton
WV1 9WJ
Telephone number: 0300 555 0333
Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk


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.


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 611 1444
Website: www.barstandardsboard.org.uk