1. At McNair Chambers LLC we always aim to provide a high standard of service designed to meet the needs of our professional and lay clients. If you have a complaint, however, you are invited to let us know about it as soon as possible so that we can try to resolve it to your satisfaction. It is not necessary to involve solicitors in order to make a complaint but you are free to do so if you wish. Your options for pursuing a complaint are not limited to our procedure. You may for example wish to raise the matter with the Legal Ombudsman and we draw your attention to that option at the end of this document.
When to make a complaint to us and the time limits for doing so
2. If you do have a complaint it is important to us that it is dealt with as soon as possible and, hopefully, to your satisfaction. Therefore, any complaint should be made in accordance with the steps described below as soon after the event giving rise to the complaint as possible and preferably within fourteen days. Please note that we will not normally consider complaints that are raised with us outside a period of twelve months from the act or omission which is complained of, subject to any other applicable time limits.
How to complain
3. You may make a complaint either by telephone or in writing. The person to contact in chambers will depend on the nature of the complaint.
3.1. If you are dissatisfied with a barrister’s work, conduct or service you may wish to contact the barrister concerned directly as s/he may be able to achieve a resolution to your satisfaction without the need for you to embark on a more formal complaint. If you are dissatisfied with the work, conduct or service of a member of staff you may wish to contact the Office Manager, who may be able to achieve a resolution that you find satisfactory. However you are not obliged to contact the barrister, or, as the case may be, the Office Manager, before making a complaint.
3.2. If you are dissatisfied with the response of the barrister, or, as the case may be, the Office Manager, your complaint should ordinarily be raised by contacting the Head of Chambers.
3.3. The Head of Chambers is currently Khawar Qureshi QC. If you wish, you may complain to him direct without having first raised the matter with the barrister concerned or the Office Manager, as the case may be.
4. If you make your complaint by telephone, the person you contact will make a note of the details of your complaint and what you would like done about it. He or she will discuss the matter with you and aim to resolve your concerns to your satisfaction. You may find it helpful to make your own note of the discussion and its outcome.
5. If you make your complaint in writing or by email, you should give the following details: your name and the address at which you wish to be contacted; the barrister(s) or member(s) of staff about whom you are complaining; the details of the complaint; what you would like done about it.
Any letter should be addressed to:
Khawar Qureshi QC
McNair Chambers LLC
5th Floor, Tatweer Tower
PO Box 23939
Telephone: +974 4491 1404
Alternatively, he can be contacted via the Office Manager, whose e-mail address is email@example.com. We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint as soon as possible and provide you with details of how it will be dealt with. To help us achieve that within two working days, as we would wish to do, you may wish to make contact initially by telephone as suggested above so that the receipt of your complaint is expected and directed to the appropriate person who is available to receive it.
6. In the first place we will try to resolve the complaint to your satisfaction informally. The person you contact or a person of appropriate seniority to whom the complaint is referred will discuss the matter with you in accordance with paragraph 4 above. If it is possible for the complaint to be resolved informally, this should be achieved within fourteen days of our receiving it.
7. If we consider it is not possible to resolve your complaint informally we shall refer it to our formal procedure. If you consider your complaint has not been resolved informally to your satisfaction, or if you consider the matter too serious to be dealt with informally, you may ask us to deal with it under our formal procedure set out below:
7.1. If you have not done so already you should record or confirm your complaint in writing by sending a letter to the appropriate person described in paragraph 3 above, giving the details described in paragraph 5.
7.2. Within fourteen days, your letter will be considered by the Head of Chambers or a deputy in his/her absence and referred to a senior member of chambers for investigation. In making that referral, the Head of Chambers or deputy will have complete discretion to choose the investigator but will ordinarily endeavour to choose a senior member of chambers who has the appropriate experience to deal with the particular complaint. If the complaint is against the Head of Chambers, it will be investigated by the next most senior member of chambers who is appropriate to deal with it. In any case, the person appointed will be someone other than the person you are complaining about and will have had no prior involvement in the matter or the case in question.
7.3. The investigator will normally report initially to the Head of Chambers (or, where the complaint is against the Head of Chambers, the person investigating in accordance with paragraph 7.2), who may adopt or comment upon the report or direct further inquiries to be made or make such further inquiries himself before the response is provided to you.
7.4. The person appointed will write to you as soon as possible to let you know of his/her appointment and that s/he intends to investigate and prepare a response to your complaint within fourteen days. If it is impracticable to provide the response within fourteen days or if it is considered desirable in the interests of ensuring a thorough investigation, you will be informed of the alternative timescale that is proposed and you will be kept up to date on the progress of the investigation.
7.5. Before referring the matter to an investigator or before asking for the investigation to be conducted the Head of Chambers or deputy may ask you to provide further details or documents to clarify or support your complaint if that appears to him/her to be necessary or appropriate. Likewise, the investigator may do so in the course of the investigation.
7.6. When the investigation is concluded you will be sent a response to your complaint. This will include a brief report of the nature and scope of the investigation carried out, the conclusion reached and the basis for it, and, if the complaint is found to be justified, proposals for resolving the matter.
8. All documents and conversations relating to your complaint will be treated as confidential by us and disclosed only to the extent that is necessary for dealing with the matter. Disclosure may be made to the Head of Chambers, any member of chambers participating in the investigation and processing of the complaint, the Office Manager, the person against whom the complaint is made and any other person necessarily involved in the investigation of the complaint or the handling and review of our chambers’ complaints file. Disclosure may also be made to the Bar Standards Board.
9. A record will be kept of any complaint and the details and documents relating to a complaint may be placed on our chambers complaint file and retained for a period of six years (or longer if we deem it appropriate). McNair Chambers LLC will review anonymised details from this file on a regular basis with a view to maintaining and improving our standards of service.
The Legal Ombudsman
10. It is our aim to resolve all complaints through our own procedure, which we hope that you will use in order to seek to resolve any complaint you may have. However, if you would rather not use this procedure or are unhappy with the outcome, you do have the choice of taking your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman at any time. Please note that the Legal Ombudsman has time limits which must be complied with (although such time limit can be extended in exceptional circumstances). Complaints must be brought within:
• six years from the date of the act or omission complained of;
• three years from the date on which you should reasonably have known that there were grounds for complaint (if the act or omission took place before 6 October 2010 or was more than six years ago);
• within six months of you receiving a final response from your lawyer.
The contact details for the Legal Ombudsman are set out below.
The Legal Ombudsman
PO Box 6806
Tel: 0300 555 0333
Data on the decisions made about legal service providers can be found at https://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/information-centre/data-centre/.