5 SAH Complaints Procedure

5 St Andrew’s Hill’s staff and members aim to provide instructing solicitors and clients with the service that fits their requirements, from time to time things can go wrong, and if this occurs we want you to tell us about it.

If you are not satisfied with the service that you have received, then please contact us using the following procedure. Our aim is to consider any expression of dissatisfaction and provide you with a satisfactory resolution within the timescales set out below.

  • Please contact us with about a problem as soon as you can, it is always best to deal with an issue whilst matters are fresh in your and our minds. Unless there are exceptional circumstances we will not consider complaints made more than a year after the problem arose.

  • You do not have to consult another legal adviser about your issue but you are free to do so.

  • 5SAH has an Equality & Diversity policy designed to ensure no one is disadvantaged because of disability or impairment in receiving services (including making a complaint) from this Chambers and its Members. If it would help to have this information in an alternative format or we can help in another way please contact our Chambers Director, Alastair Rhodes on 020 7332 5400 or on alastair@5sah.co.uk

 Making a Complaint

We define a complaint as ‘a material expression of dissatisfaction by a client or solicitor instructing a member of Chambers about a matter being dealt with by Chamber’s staff and/or its members, this may comprise negligence, incompetence or a significant shortfall in the levels of service provided.’

Please advise us of your complaint, preferably in writing, by post, email, or fax, to either the relevant barrister, to another barrister in Chambers or the Chambers Director. If you complain to a barrister please provide the Chambers Director with a copy of your complaint. If you choose to make your complaint verbally we are likely to ask you to confirm it in writing.

What we need to know

So we can deal with your complaint quickly and properly we need you to tell us:

  • Your name and address, email address and telephone number;

  • Which barrister, clerk or member of staff you are complaining about;

  • The details of your complaint including copies of any relevant documents, emails etc.

  • Your desired resolution.

Dealing with the Complaint

All complaints directed or copied to the Chambers Director will be acknowledged in writing within two working days of receipt. The Chambers Director will provide you with a copy of this procedure and will confirm who will deal with your complaint and the date on or before which a full response will be sent to you. We aim to deal with your complaint as quickly as possible, how long this takes depends upon what the complaint is about, we normally hope to be able to provide you with our response within 20 working days and in any event in no more than 30 days. When acknowledging your complaint the Chambers Director will confirm the intended timescale for dealing with your complaint and if, whilst dealing with your complaint it becomes apparent that the timescale advised cannot be met, he\she will advise you of this.

If the complaint involves a specific barrister, clerk or staff member, the matter will be discussed with that person and, if necessary with you, following which we will respond to you with a view to resolving the matter.

Any complaint that involves the Chambers Director should be made to the Head of Chambers who will investigate the complaint or to another senior member of Chambers appointed by him/her for this purpose. If the complaint relates to the Head of Chambers, it should be made to the Chambers Director or the Deputy Head of Chambers and will be dealt with by a panel appointed by the Chambers Management Committee.

In dealing with the complaint, the matter will be reviewed to assess the need for:-

Remedial action: where an error can be rectified;

Appropriate redress: as a compensatory/goodwill measure for you;

Improvement action: to consider the cause of the complaint and implement changes designed to prevent a re-occurrence.

The existence of this procedure does not prohibit us from dismissing without investigation complaints that we reasonably consider are manifestly unjustified. In such cases we shall advise you in writing that we are taking such action.

Further Action

If you consider the issue not to have been resolved to your satisfaction, the matter will be referred to the Head of Chambers, who will then investigate and liaise with you as appropriate.

If, having had the matter reviewed by the Head of Chambers, you remain unsatisfied, you are entitled to refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. Further information about how to make a complaint can be found on the Legal Ombudsman’s website or you can contact them at:

Legal Ombudsman
PO Box 6806
WV1 9WJ
Tel: 0300 555 0333 (Overseas: +44 121 245 3050) Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk Website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk

Please note that there are strict time limits that you must observe in making such a referral.

Confidentiality – all communications regarding your complaint will be treated as confidential and will only be disclosed to those dealing with the complaint and the person or persons complained about. We may also be required to disclose such information to our regulators, the Bar Standards Board and the Legal Ombudsman, as part of their regulatory function.

Annual Review – complaints received are reviewed annually by the Chambers Director who will provide the Chambers Management Committee with a report detailing the number and type of complaints and the persons complained of, together with changes considered necessary as a result of any complaint which have been implemented or are proposed. The report will not identify the complaining persons.