Client Care

Maidstone Chambers Complaint Procedure 

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. 

Please note that the Legal Ombudsman, the independent complaints body for service complaints about lawyers, has a twelve-month time limit in which a complaint must be raised from the date of the act or omission complained of from when the complainant should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint without taking advice from a third party. The Ombudsman can extend the time limit in exceptional circumstances by the Ombudsman. 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 twelve month time limit. 

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 Bar Standards Board rather than the Legal Ombudsman. 

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 satisfactorily to investigate and resolve such matters is limited and complaints of this nature are often better suited to the disciplinary processes maintained by the Bar Standards Board. Therefore, Chambers will make an initial assessment of the complaint and if they feel that the issues raised cannot satisfactorily be resolved through the Chambers complaints process they will refer you to the Bar Standards Board.

You may wish to make a complaint in writing and, if so, you are invited to follow the procedure below. However, if you would rather speak on the telephone about your complaint then please telephone the individual nominated to deal with complaints under the Chambers Complaints Procedure, namely: 

First nominated person: Philip Sinclair, Head of Chambers  

He will make a note of the details of your complaint and what you would like done about it. He will discuss your concerns with you and aim to resolve them. If the matter is resolved he will record the outcome, check that you are satisfied with the outcome and record that you are satisfied. You may also wish to record the outcome of the telephone discussion in writing. If your complaint is not resolved on the telephone you will be invited to write to us about it so it can be investigated formally.

Complaints made in writing

Please give the following details: ·      

  • Your name and address;
  • Which member(s) of Chambers you are complaining about;
  • The detail of the complaint; and    
  • What you would like done about it.

Please address your letter to The Clerks Room, Maidstone Chambers, 51 Earl Street, Maidstone, Kent ME14 1PD. 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.

Our Chambers has a panel headed by Philip Sinclair and made up of experienced members of Chambers and a senior member of staff, which considers any written complaint. Within 14 days of your letter being received the head of the panel (or his deputy in his absence) will appoint a member of the panel to investigate it. If your complaint is against the head of the panel, the next most senior member of the panel will investigate it. In any case, the person appointed will be someone other than the person you are complaining about.

The person appointed to investigate will write to you as soon as possible to let you know he has been appointed and that he will reply to your complaint within 14 days. If he finds later that he is not going to be able to reply within 14 days he will set a new date for his reply and inform you. The reply will set out: ·       The nature and scope of his investigation;·       His conclusion on each complaint and the basis for his conclusion; and·       If he finds that you are justified in your complaint, his proposals for resolving the complaint.

 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 or member of staff about whom you have complained, the head or relevant senior member of the panel and the person who investigates the complaint.  The Bar Standards Board is entitled to inspect the documents and seek information about the complaint when discharging its auditing and 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 may inspect the records with a view to improving services.

Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman

If you are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation and you fall within their jurisdiction you may take up your complaint with the Legal Ombudsman, the independent complaints body for complaints about lawyers, at the conclusion of our consideration of your complaint. The Ombudsman is not able to consider your complaint until it has first been investigated by Chambers. You must complain to the Legal Ombudsman either within six yeards of your barrister's actions/failure to act, or no later than three years after you should reasonably have known there were grounds to complain.  You can write to them at: 

Legal Ombudsman

P0 BOC 6806

Wolverhampton

WV1 9WJ

Telephone number: 0300 555 0333  

Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk 

You may link to the decisions page on the legal obudsman website by clicking: 

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

13.  If you are not the barrister’s client and are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation then please contact the Bar Standards Board at:      

Bar Standards Board, Professional Conduct Department, 289-293 High Holborn, London WC1V 7JZ      

Telephone number: 0207 6111 444

Website : www.barstandardsboard.org.uk       

 

Privacy Notice - General Information Protection Regulation (“GDPR”)  
 
Please read the following information carefully. This privacy notice contains information about the information collected, stored and otherwise processed about you and the reasons for the processing. It also tells you who Chambers shares this information with, the security mechanisms Chambers has put in place to protect your information and how to contact Chambers in the event you need further information.   
 
Maidstone Chambers collects, uses and is responsible for personal information about you. When Chambers does this it is the ‘controller’ of this information for the purposes of the GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018.  
 
If you need to contact Chambers about your information or the processing carried out you can use the contact details at the end of this document. 
  
Chambers collects some or all of the following personal information that you provide: 
 
  1. personal details 

  1. family details 
  1. lifestyle and social circumstances 
  1. goods and services 
  1. financial details 
  1. education, training and employment details  
  1. physical or mental health details 
  1. racial or ethnic origin 
  1. political opinions 
  1. religious, philosophical or other beliefs  
  1. trade union membership 
  1. sex life or sexual orientation 
  1. genetic information 
  1. biometric information for the purpose of uniquely identifying a natural person  
  1. criminal proceedings, outcomes and sentences, or related security measures 
  1. other personal information relevant to instructions to provide legal services, including information specific to the instructions in question. 

The same categories of information may also be obtained from third parties, such as members of Chambers, experts, members of the public, your family and friends, witnesses, courts and other tribunalssuppliers of goods and services, investigators, government departments, regulators, public records and registers     
 
Chambers may use your personal information for the following purposes: 
  1. to promote and market the services of the Barristers  
  1. to train barristers  
  1. to recruit staff and pupils 
  1. to assess applications for tenancy, pupillage, mini-pupillage and work-shadowing opportunities 
  1. to fulfil equality and diversity and other regulatory requirements, 
  1. to procure goods and services, 
  1. to manage matters relating to employment, including payroll [and pensions] 
  1. to respond to requests for references 
  1. to publish legal judgments and decisions of courts and tribunals 
  1. to respond to potential complaints or make complaints  
  1. to carry out anti-money laundering and terrorist financing checks 
  1. as otherwise required or permitted by law. 
 
In relation to personal information collected for marketing purposes, the personal information consists of  
 
  • names, contact details, and name of organisation 
  • the nature of your interest in Chambers' marketing  
  • your attendance at Chambers events. 
This will be processed so that you can be provided with information about Chambersthe Barristers/Mediators/Arbitrators and to invite you to events.  
 
If you apply to Chambers for a position or are seeking a reference or are a member of staff your personal information has to be provided to Chambers, so that your application/reference can be properly assessed/your employment records, pay and pensions can be administered and to enable Chambers to comply with its regulatory obligations, and to keep accounting records. 
 
 
If you are offering or providing Chambers with goods or services your information may be processed in relation to such offers or contracts.  
 
 
Chambers relies on the following as the lawful baseto collect and use your personal information: 
 
  • If you have consented to the processing of your personal information, then Chambers may process your information for the Purposes set out above to the extent to which you have consented to Chambers doing so. 
  • Categories which are considered to include particularly sensitive information and which include information about criminal convictions or proceedings), Chambers is entitled by law to process the information where the processing is necessary for legal proceedings, legal advice, or otherwise for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal rights 
  • Chambers relies on its legitimate interests and/or the legitimate interests of a third party in carrying out the processing for the Purposes set out above.  
  • Categories which include particularly sensitive information and which include information about criminal convictions or proceedings), Chambers relies on your consent for any processing for the purposes set out in purposes (i)(ii)(vi) and (viii) above. However, if you do not consent to processing for the purpose of providing a reference Chambers will be unable to take or provide a reference. This is because Chambers needs to be able to retain all information about you to provide an informed and complete reference. 
  • The processing is necessary for the purposes of performing or exercising obligations or rights which are imposed or conferred by law on Chambers or you in connection with employment, social security or social protection.  
  • The processing is necessary for the assessment of your working capacity or health or social care purposes. 
  • The processing of information is necessary for the purposes of identifying or keeping under review the existence or absence of equality of opportunity or treatment between members of staff, tenants, pupils and mini-pupils with a view to enabling such equality to be promoted or maintained. 
  • The processing is necessary to prevent or detect unlawful acts where it is in the substantial public interest and it must be carried out without consent so as not to prejudice those purposes. 
  • In certain circumstances processing may be necessary in order that Chambers can comply with a legal obligation to which it is subject (including carrying out anti-money laundering or terrorist financing checks). 
 
It may be necessary to share your information with the following: 
 
  • information processors, such as IT support staff, email providers, information storage providers. 
  • in the event of complaints, the Head of Chambers and members of Chambers who deal with complaints, the Bar Standards Board and the Legal Ombudsman 
  • other regulatory authorities 
  • current, past or prospective employers or employees 
  • in the case of recruitment of barristers to or from other chambers, your currentpast and prospective chambers 
  • education and examining bodies 
  • legal professionals 
  • experts and other witnesses 
  • prosecution authorities 
  • courts and tribunals 
  • Chambers’ staff 
  • trainee barristers 
  • lay and professional clients of Members of Chambers 
  • family and associates of the person whose personal information Chambers is processing 
  • current, past or prospective employers 
  • education and examining bodies 
  • business associates, professional advisers and trade bodies, e.g. the Bar Council 
  • the intended recipient, where you have asked Chambers to provide a reference 
  • the general public in relation to the publication of legal judgments and decisions of courts and tribunals. 
 
 
Chambers may be required to provide your information to regulators, such as the Bar Standards Board, the Financial Conduct Authority or the Information Commissioner’s OfficeIn the case of the Information Commissioner’s Office, there is a risk that your information may lawfully be disclosed by them for the purpose of any other civil or criminal proceedings, without Chambers’ consent or your consent, which includes privileged information. 
Chambers may also be required to disclose your information to the police or intelligence services, where required or permitted by law.   
 
The personal information Chambers obtainmay include information obtained from:  
  • legal professionals 
  • experts and other witnesses 
  • prosecution authorities 
  • courts and tribunals 
  • trainee barristers 
  • lay and professional clients of members of Chambers  
  • family and associates of the person whose personal information Chambers is processing 
  • in the event of complaints, the Head of Chambers, other members of Chambers who deal with complaints, the Bar Standards Board, and the Legal Ombudsman 
  • other regulatory authorities 
  • current, past or prospective employers 
  • education and examining bodies 
  • business associates, professional advisers and trade bodies, e.g. the Bar Council 
  • the intended recipient, where you have asked Chambers to provide a reference. 
  • the general public in relation to the publication of legal judgments and decisions of courts and tribunals.
  • data processors, such as IT support staff, email providers, data storage providers  
  • public sources, such as the press, public registers and law reports.  
 
 
Transfer of your information outside the European Economic Area (EEA) 
 
This privacy notice is of general application and as such it is not possible to state whether it will be necessary to transfer your information out of the EEA in any particular case or for a referenceHowever, if you reside outside the EEA or your case or the role for which you require a reference involves persons or organisations or courts and tribunals outside the EEA then it may be necessary to transfer some of your information to that country outside of the EEA for that purpose. If you are in a country outside the EEA or if the instructions you provide come from outside the EEA then it is inevitable that information will be transferred to those countries. If this applies to you and you wish additional precautions to be taken in respect of your information please indicate this when providing initial instructions. 
 
Some countries and organisations outside the EEA have been assessed by the European Commission and their information protection laws and procedures found to show adequate protection. The list can be found here. Most do not. If your information has to be transferred outside the EEA, then it may not have the same protections and you may not have the same rights as you would within the EEA. 
 
Chambers may transfer your personal information to the following which are located outside the European Economic Area (EEA): 
  • Cloud information storage services based in the USA who have agreed to comply with the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, in order to enable me to store your information and/or backup copies of your information so that Chambers may access your information when they need to. The USA does not have the same information protection laws as the EU but the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield has been recognised by the European Commission as providing adequate protection. To obtain further details of that protection see https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/law-topic/information-protection/information-transfers-outside-eu/eu-us-privacy-shield_en.
  • Cloud information storage services based in Switzerland, in order to enable me to store your information and/or backup copies of your information so that Chambers may access your information when it needs to. Switzerland does not have the same information protection laws as the EU but has been recognised by the European Commission as providing adequate protection; see https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/law-topic/information-protection/information-transfers-outside-eu/adequacy-protection-personal-information-non-eu-countries_en. 
 
If Chambers decides to publish a judgment or other decision of a Court or Tribunal containing your information then may be published to the world.   
 
Chambers will not otherwise transfer personal information outside the EEA [except as necessary for the conduct of any legal proceedings 
 
 
Chambers will normally store all your information: 
 
  • For a minimum of 3 years after the expiry of any relevant limitation period, from for example the date on which your employment terminates, the date of the last provision of service or goods, the date of the last payment made or received or the date on which all outstanding payments are written off, whichever is the latest. This is because it may be needed for potential legal proceedings.. At this point any further retention will be reviewed and the information will be marked for deletion or marked for retention for a further period. The latter retention period is likely to occur only where the information is needed for legal proceedings, regulatory matters or active complaints. Deletion will be carried out as soon as reasonably practicable after the information is marked for deletion.  
  • Equality and diversity data may be retained for a minimum of 3 years in pseudonymised form for the purpose of research and statistics and complying with regulatory obligations in relation to the reporting of equality and diversity data.   
  • Names and contact details held for marketing purposes will be stored indefinitely or until Chambers becomes aware or is informed that the individual has ceased to be a potential client. 
  • Personal information held for recruitment purposes or in relation to pupillage or mini-pupillage will be stored for Minimum of a 1 year. 
 
 
As explained above, Chambers is relying on your explicit consent to process your information. You provided this consent when you applied to become a member of staff, tenant, pupil or mini-pupil /you asked Chambers to provide a reference. 
 
You have the right to withdraw this consent at any time, but this will not affect the lawfulness of any processing activity carried out prior to you withdrawing your consent. However, where Chambers also relies on other bases for processing your information, you may not be able to prevent processing of your information 

 

Your Rights  

Under the GDPR, you have a number of rights that you can exercise in certain circumstancesThese are free of charge. In summary, you may have the right to: 
 
  • Ask for access to your personal information and other supplementary information; 
  • Ask for correction of mistakes in your information or to complete missing information Chambers holds on you; 
  • Ask for your personal information to be erased, in certain circumstances; 
  • Receive a copy of the personal information you have provided to me or have this information sent to a third partyThis will be provided to you or the third party in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format, e.g. a Word file; 
  • Object at any time to processing of your personal information for direct marketing; 
  • Object in certain other situations to the continued processing of your personal information; 
  • Restrict the processing of your personal information in certain circumstances; 
  • Request not to be the subject to automated decision-making which produces legal effects that concern you or affects you in a significant way. 
 
If you want more information about your rights under the GDPR please see the Guidance from the Information Commissioners Office on Individual's rights under the GDPR. 
 
If you want to exercise any of these rights, please: 
  • Use the contact details at the end of this document; 
  • Chambers may need to ask you to provide other information so that you can be identified; 
  • Please provide a contact address so that you can be contacted to request further information to verify your identity; 
  • Provide proof of your identity and address; 
  • State the right or rights that you wish to exercise. 
 
Chambers will respond to you within one month from when it receives your request. 
  

How to make a complaint?  

 
The GDPR also gives you the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioners’ Office if you are in the UK, or with the supervisory authority of the Member State where you work, normally live or where the alleged infringement of information protection laws occurred. The Information Commissioner’s Office can be contacted at http://ico.org.uk/concerns/.   
 
 
Chambers does not intend to process your personal information except for the reasons stated within this privacy notice. 
 
This privacy notice was published on 25th September 2019. 
 
Chambers continually reviews its privacy practices and may change this policy from time to time. When it does an amended privacy notice will be placed on the Chambers’ website. 
 

Contact Details 

If you have any questions about this privacy notice or the information Chambers holds about you, please contact Chambers using the contact details below 
 
The best way to contact Chambers is to write to the Clerks Room:
admim@maidstonechambers.co.uk
51 Earl Street
Maidstone
ME14 1PD 
 
 
Maidstone Chambers are regulated by the Bar Standards Board.