CLIENT CARE POLICY
Aims and objectives
1. As a set of Chambers we strive to provide outstanding legal services accompanied by the highest professional standards of client care. We continually monitor our performance and conduct regular reviews of our systems and procedures to refine and improve our standards of client care. We recognise that while excellence in legal work, whether it be advocacy, drafting or advising, is our core function, this must be accompanied and supported by the highest standard of professional conduct and client care. We must ensure that the needs, concerns and interests of our clients are constantly in view, and, where necessary addressed. We take our responsibility for client care very seriously and seek to match the suggested standards of best practice in the profession.
2. We are receptive to feedback which should be addressed to the Chief Clerk or the Management Committee in the first instance. We carry out formal feedback exercises for two months of each year. We ask all attendees at chambers seminars to complete feedback forms.
We welcome feedback from clients at any time. You can use our feedback form to do so. Please complete this and return by post or email to the clerks.
Fees and terms of work
3. At the outset of any work on a case, the client is informed as to the basis upon which the fees will be charged and the terms of the work. We use the model client care letter as recommended by the Bar Council for direct access clients. We are reviewing our practices in relation to professional clients and client care letters.
4. Members of chambers will provide a time record of work undertaken in each case upon request.
Timescales and delay
5. Upon receipt of instructions, the client will be advised of the likely timescale within which the barrister will complete his work, upon request. In cases of urgency we will do our best to assist within the time available.
6. We will ensure that the client is kept fully informed of any factors which are likely to cause delay and the reasons for them. The barrister will advise the client promptly where a timescale needs to be revised.
Conflicts of interest
7. Where any issue of potential or existing conflict of interest between lay and professional clients (including negligence or incompetence on the part of the latter) arises, this will be promptly brought to the attention of both where appropriate, and advice to the lay client under paragraph 703 of the Code of Conduct that he should instruct other professional advisers is tendered without delay.
8. We will ensure that the client is aware of chambers’ commitment to the development of good equal opportunity practice.
Conferences and disabled access
9. Chambers has a suite of conference rooms available for large and small conferences, lectures, seminars and settlement meetings. Chambers can provide access for the disabled for conferences. This can be set up with ease on notice to the clerks. Members of chambers are happy to travel to solicitors and lay clients’ premises for conferences. We routinely monitor our responsibilities to good practice and the Disability Discrimination Act.
10. Chambers maintains an extensive library of legal texts and authorities, both written and electronic, which are relevant to our practice areas. We are happy to assist our clients by providing access to that facility.
11. Chambers has a detailed documented complaints procedure to deal with complaints against either chambers as a whole or any individual barrister or member of staff as required by paragraph 403(d) of the Code of Conduct. A copy of this complaints procedure is available from the clerks upon request.
12. Chambers will ensure that all lay clients are informed of their right to make a complaint about a member of chambers instructed to represent them if they wish to do so. Agreed arrangements will be made with solicitors to ensure that, where they are prepared to do so, they agree to inform the client of this right as a standard part of their client care procedure. Where such an agreement is not in place, individual members of chambers will inform their lay clients of the right to complaint in writing - and in accordance with the requirements of the Bar Standards Board.
13. The notification given to clients will inform them of the existence of our chambers complaints procedure and the fact that it can be found here on this website.
12. This policy has been reviewed in February 2014 and will be reviewed annually.