If you are dissatisfied with the service that you have received from any member of 3 Hare Court, or its members of staff, then you can complain directly to us.
3 Hare Court has a procedure for handling complaints which is set out below.
This procedure will only be engaged if your complaint is about something that happened within the previous 6 months (unless there are exceptional circumstances) and once you have made your complaint formally in writing.
You should address your written complaint to:
The Complaints Handling Secretary
The Chambers of Howard Stevens KC
3 Hare Court
London EC4Y 7BJ
The Complaints Handling Secretary will be your point of contact throughout, unless advised otherwise. The Secretary is a practicing barrister within Chambers, whose identity may change from time to time.
Complaints may be faxed (020 7415 7811), as long as the form, or letter containing the complaint is also sent by post. Complaints may not be sent by email.
A form is available which can be sent to you upon request by any of the clerks at 3 Hare Court, upon which to record your complaint, should you wish to use it.
Whether using the form, or not, the written complaint should identify:
In the event that information is missing that would assist the Complaints Handling Secretary to determine how your complaint should be dealt with, the Secretary may write to you and ask for that information, before the procedure for handling your complaint begins. To assist you to state your complaint clearly, the Complaints Handling Secretary may ask you to complete another, or different, form or statement of you complaint, or that may be done by him on your behalf and you will be invited to confirm the information. Once received, the Complaints Handling Secretary will register your complaint and send to you a written acknowledgment within 21 days. If, by the nature of your complaint, you require a response before 21 days, then please mark your written complaint ‘Urgent’ explaining why and the time by which a response is needed. In the case of urgency, it may be necessary to depart from the Complaints Handling procedure. In the event that the complaint creates any risk of a conflict of interest for the Complaints Handling Secretary, you will be informed as soon as reasonably possible and a new Secretary shall take charge of the procedure.
In this response, the Complaints Handling Secretary will outline the steps that have been adopted for investigating and determining your complaint, which will include: Depending upon the gravity of the complaint, the appointment of a specific Complaints Handling Committee, made up of not less than: 1 member of chambers who is above 10 years in call, who shall Chair the Committee; and, 1 member of chambers who is below 10 years in call; and, Either the Senior Clerk, or the First Junior Clerk; The opening of a file to record your complaint and to hold any correspondence/information relating to it. The steps being undertaken to investigate your complaint, including the collection of evidence, which may require you to provide further information and/or documentation and/or written representations. A period of not more than 28 days by which the Complaints Handling Secretary will contact you again to update you on the progress of your complaint. If your complaint involves an allegation of negligence, or which may otherwise be the subject of a barrister’s, or Chambers’, professional indemnity, or other insurance, this will be brought to the attention of the relevant insurers as soon as possible and you will be notified. In such cases, by the terms of the insurance cover, this may mean that your complaint cannot then be determined within Chambers and you will be informed.
Once the Chairman of the Complaints Handling Committee has told the Secretary that the Committee is satisfied it has received all information necessary to determine the complaint, the Committee shall meet to consider the evidence and to determine how the complaint shall be determined, including: whether any action needs to be taken in respect of it; whether any steps are required to implement changes in Chambers’ procedures to ensure there is no repeat of the event about which complaint is made; whether any additional training should be provided to any member of Chambers and/or staff; Thereafter, the Chairman of the Complaints Handling Committee shall, with the assistance of the Secretary, write to you with a record of the investigation, the outcome of the complaint, and any agreed action.
The decision of the Complaints Handling Committee is final and there is no appeal. Your complaint file will be retained for a period of not less than three years from the date of its determination, in case of further action, and, also for consideration at staff appraisals where appropriate. The Complaints Handling Procedures, the Register of Complaints, and the conduct of Complaints Handling Committees, will be reviewed by Chambers’ Management Committee upon receipt of the Complaints Handling Secretary’s Annual Report.
In the event that you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your complaint, you still have the right to make renew your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, within 12 months of the events about which you originally complained, or 6 months of Chambers’ determination of your complaint.
The Legal Ombudsman’s contact details are:
Click here for a link to the Legal Ombudsman Decision Database