Complaints Policy

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.

The Legal Ombudsman is the independent complaints body for service complaints about Barristers. It has time limits in which a complaint must be raised with it. The time limits are:

  • Six years from the date of the act/omission
  • 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)
  • Within six months of the complainant receiving a final response from their Barrister.

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.

Any complaint should be made in writing.

Please give the following details:

  • Your name and address (and email address if you have one)
  • Which member(s) of Chambers you are complaining about
  • The detail of the complaint
  • What you suggest as an acceptable resolution to your complaint.

Please address your letter to:

The Clerk

Demstone Chambers

Suite 144 

548–550 Elder House 

Elder Gate 

Milton Keynes 

MK9 1LR 

or to: clerks@demstonechambers.co.uk

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.

There are a number of ways in which your complaint may be dealt with:

  • discussion over the telephone
  • dealt with by correspondence
  • discussion at a meeting between us
  • the appointment of a mediator who will try to facilitate the resolution of your complaint
  • the appointment of an arbitrator whose decision we both agree shall be binding.

If we decide to appoint an arbitrator, we both would need to agree how the arbitrator should approach his/her task and the limit of the compensation that can be awarded. The local Circuit will be approached and a Barrister will be appointed to arbitrate. However, neither of us may veto the person chosen. It is expected that the Circuit will choose someone who has considerable experience in the area that is the subject matter of the dispute.

Upon receipt of a written complaint the member of Chambers about whom you have complained will:

  • reply in writing, normally within 48 hours, to acknowledge the complaint and inform you how they shall be dealing with it.
  • reply within 14 days responding in full to your complaint. They will offer you the opportunity to meet with you if that is appropriate. If they find later that they are not going to be able to reply within 14 days they, will set a new date for their reply and inform you. 

The reply will set out:

  • the nature and scope of the investigation
  • the members’ conclusion on each complaint including their basis for each conclusion; and
  • if it is found that you are justified in your complaint, proposals for resolving the complaint.

If you indicate that you are not happy with the written response you may ask for mediation or arbitration or you may make a formal complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, the independent complaints handling body for complaints about lawyers. Please note that the Legal Ombudsman has a six-month time limit from the date of the act or omission about which you are complaining within which to make your complaint.

They can be contacted at:

Legal Ombudsman

PO Box 6806

Wolverhampton

WV1 9WJ

Telephone number: 0300 555 0333

Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

We will maintain confidentiality at all times and discuss your complaint only to the extent that is necessary for its resolution and to comply with requests for information from the Bar Standards Board discharging its auditing and monitoring functions.

We will retain all correspondence and other documents generated in the course of your complaint for a period of six years and we will review complaints at least once a year to ensure that we maintain good standards of service.

Links: https://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/raising-standards/data-and-decisions/#ombudsman-decision-data

https://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/for-the-public/search-a-Barristers-record/the-Barristers-register.html