Service Standards

Our clients expect us to deliver high quality advocacy and advice as a matter of course. We seek ensure that we deliver our service in a thoroughly professional, efficient manner. We have adopted the following Practice Management Standards to ensure that we do.

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Complaints

Deans Court Chambers - Overview of Complaints

Our aim is to provide an excellent 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, has time limits in which a complaint must be raised with them.
The time limits are:
a) The act or omission, or when the complainant should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint, must have been after 5 October 2010; and
b) The complainant must refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman no later than six years from the act/omission, or three years from when the complainant should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
c) The complainant must also refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of the complaint receiving a final response from their lawyer, if that response 18 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).
3. Chambers must 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 can extend the time limit in exceptional circumstances.
4. 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 BSB rather than the Legal Ombudsman.
5. 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 BSB. 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 BSB.

Making a complaint, Informally and Formally

If you wish to complain informally, you should telephone Chambers and ask to speak to the Senior Clerk. You can also email if you prefer and details are provided at the end of this information. Your complaint will be logged. We will ask you if you wish to make a formal complaint.

If you wish to make a formal complaint, we will appoint someone to contact you about your complaint. This will normally be the senior clerk. (If your complaint is about the senior clerk, the head of chambers will contact you about your complaint.)

  • The person who contacts you will ask for details about your complaint.
  • He or she will write to you within 7 days to notify you when you can expect to hear further from us.
  • We will investigate your complaint promptly. The person who investigates your complaint will be different from the person about whom you are complaining.
  • We will tell you whether we have found that your complaint was justified or not. If your complaint is justified, we will tell you what remedial action we will take.

If you wish to make a complaint please either:-

Email our Senior Clerk Matthew Gibbons - mgibbons@deascourt.co.uk

Write to him at - Deans Court Chambers, 24 St John Street, Manchester, M3 4DF

Telephone - 0161 214 6000 during normal business hours and ask for the Senior Clerk

Please provide the following details;

- Your name and address

- Which member(s) of Chambers are you complaining about;

- The details of the complaint; and

- What you would like done about it.

We will, where possible, acknowledge receipt of your complaint within two working days and provide you with details of how your complaint will be dealt with.

If you are unwilling to use our complaints procedure, or if you are not satisfied with the outcome, you may ask for independent assessment and conciliation. Alternatively, you may take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman at:

Legal Ombudsman
PO Box 6806
Wolverhampton
WV1 9WJ

E-mail: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk
Web: Contact Us | Legal Ombudsman

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 our management committee 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 or relevant senior member of the panel and the person who investigates the complaint. The BSB is entitled to inspect the documents and seek information about the complaint when discharging its 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.