This document contains Bright Line Law Services Limited’s Complaints Policy.
Complaints which relate to an act or omission by or on behalf of a barrister or employee in relation to services provided directly or indirectly to the complainant will be dealt with by BLL under this Policy, subject to paragraph 4 below.
- This Policy aims to ensure that complaints are dealt with promptly, courteously, fairly and proportionately, in a manner which addresses the issues raised.
- Complaints will ordinarily be considered by BLL under this Policy only if:
- it is within six years from the act or omission complained of; or
- three years from the date when the complainant should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
- Complainants will be informed in writing if a complaint, or any aspect of it, is considered to be outside this Policy, and will be given information on how to complain to the Legal Ombudsman.
- A copy of this Complaints Policy will be provided on request to any professional or lay client or intermediary.
- A complaint about a barrister or employee of BLL should, wherever possible, be raised informally in the first instance with that barrister or employee and with Lead Counsel. If this is not possible, or if no informal resolution is reached, a complaint should be made in writing as set out below.
- Formal complaints should be made in writing and addressed to Lead Counsel, marked ‘Complaint’ on the outside of the envelope. Lead Counsel may give authority to another barrister or to a senior employee to open such correspondence on his behalf. The aim is for the complaint to be resolved under this policy within 56 days from receipt of the complaint. Within 14 days of receipt of the complaint, the complainant will be sent, in writing:
- confirmation that the complaint has been received;
- the name of the person appointed to deal with the complaint in the way described below;
- a description of that person’s role in BLL;
- a copy of this Complaints Policy;
- the date by which the complainant will next hear from BLL.
- Lead Counsel, or another barrister and senior employee appointed by him for this purpose, will review the complaint, liaise with the barrister or the employee and the person making the complaint, discuss the issues raised with each (so far as each is willing to do so) and seek to reach agreement on disposal of the complaint. A clear explanation for any decision reached will be provided, based on the available evidence.
- A record will be kept of the complaint, of all steps taken in response to it, and of its outcome. The record will be retained for six years, together with copies of all relevant documentation including letters and email correspondence.
- All communications and records relating to complaints will be kept confidential and disclosed only where legally required or as far as is reasonably necessary for:
- the investigation and resolution of the complaint;
- internal BLL review in order to improve BLL’s handling of complaints;
- complying with requests from the Legal Ombudsman, the Bar Standards Board or any other duly authorised body, in the exercise of its functions.
- BLL’s complaints handling policy is sensitive to individual differences and needs of our clients.
- If you are unhappy about the responses received from BLL or the outcome of our investigation, you may refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman from eight weeks of the date of making the written complaint to BLL.
- The Ombudsman is not able to consider your complaint until it has first been investigated by Chambers.
- Ordinarily, you can ask the Ombudsman to look at your complaint if it meets all three of the criteria below:
- the problem, or when you found out about it, happened after 5 October 2010;
- you refer the issue to the Ombudsman either within six years of the problem happening or within three years from when you found out about it; and
- you refer the issue to the Ombudsman within six months of our final written response to you.
- The Legal Ombudsman’s service is free to consumers.
More information, including information about how to make a complaint, is available from the Legal Ombudsman website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk, by telephoning the Legal Ombudsman on 0300 555 0333, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ. Information about the decisions of the Legal Ombudsman is also available here.