Our complaints procedure.
Adopted: 12 October 2020
We hope that all of our clients and those with whom we engage will be happy with the standard of service they receive from us and the manner in which it is delivered. We have a series of policies and procedures in place to ensure that this is the case. We recognise, however, that there may nonetheless be occasions where you feel it necessary or appropriate to raise a concern or complaint with us.
Where this occurs, it can be done either formally or informally, as appropriate to the circumstances. This document aims to set out how you can do so and how we will deal with it.
- To be able to address, investigate and resolve complaints in a satisfactory way, it is important that they are raised with Crucible within a reasonable period. This means that complaints older than 12 months will not be considered by Crucible unless there are exceptional circumstances that explain your delay in reporting.
- A complaint made 12 months or longer after the event(s) complained of and where there are no exceptional circumstances to admit the complaint, means you will be notified that your complaint is out of date. You will be told this in writing by our Complaints Officer.
We treat all complaints, details of any conversations and documents relating to a complaint as being strictly confidential. The details of the complaint will be kept private and only disclosed to any other parties to the extent that its necessary in order to properly investigate and respond to your complaint.
Beyond the person to whom you initially complain, it is possible that disclosure will need to be made to the following individuals:
- The Head of Crucible
- Members of Crucible’s Management Board
- Senior members of staff.
- To anyone involved in the complaint and its investigation. You should be aware that, save in exceptional circumstances, this will include the person about whom the complaint is made.
How do I Complain?
Crucible has a Board member who is appointed as a designated Complaints Officer.
The current Complaints Officer is Roderick James, and any complaints should be directed to him in the first instance.
To ensure confidentiality, we have a dedicated email address for this purpose. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your complaint.
- If you do not have access to email or would prefer to telephone, you can do so on 020 7031 5310. Please speak to the Senior Clerk, James Hall.
- If the matter cannot be resolved to your satisfaction immediately, Mr Hall will pass on your details to the Complaints Officer.
- If your complaint relates to the Complaints Officer, or for any other reason you feel that it would be inappropriate for the Complaints Officer identified to be involved in the handling of your complaint, you should address your complaint to the Senior Clerk, James Hall, at email@example.com (or on the telephone number set out above). A suitable alternative member of chambers will then be appointed to deal with your complaint in place of the Complaints Officer and to perform the functions attributed to the Complaints Officer in this document.
When informing us of a complaint, whether by email or telephone, please ensure that you provide us with:
- Your name
- Details of how we can contact you (preferably your address, telephone number and email address)
- A detailed explanation of your complaint, and
- How you would like your complaint to be resolved.
Crucible will do all that we can to deal with any complaint swiftly and fairly.
When we receive a complaint, we will do the following:
- The Complaints Officer will contact you to confirm receipt of your complaint within 7 days. They will open and keep a written record of your complaint and of all communications with you.
- Where the precise nature of your complaint is not clear to us, the Complaints Officer will try to establish the true nature of your complaint within the same period of 7 days.
- Depending on the nature of your complaint and any views you may have told us about how you would like it to be resolved, the Complaints Officer will consider whether your complaint can properly be resolved informally. Where this is the case, the Complaints Officer will contact you to discuss this within 7 days of your complaint being made.
- Where the complaint is settled informally to your satisfaction, the Complaints Officer will write to you setting out how the matter has been resolved and confirming with you that the matter is now closed. A record of this outcome, and your agreement to it, will be kept by the Complaints Officer on behalf of Crucible for 6 years.
- If the matter cannot be resolved informally or is unsuitable to be resolved informally, the Complaints Officer will, in consultation with the Head of Crucible, appoint an independent member of Crucible to investigate the complaint formally (known as the ‘investigator’).
- An investigator’s appointment must be made either within 7 days of receipt of the complaint or within 2 working days of the point at which it is identified with you that efforts to resolve the matter informally will not succeed, whichever is later.
- The Complaints Officer may appoint themselves as the investigator if there is no reason not to do so.
- Where an investigator is appointed, they will carry out a thorough, fair and balanced investigation into your complaint and provide a written report of their findings to the Head of Crucible within 7 days. The Head of Crucible will then either:
- reach a conclusion as to each element of the complaint; or
- direct that further disciplinary action be taken based on the reports’ findings and recommendations.
- Where an investigator has been appointed, you will be advised of this by the Complaints Officer who will correspond with you on their behalf.
- The Complaints Officer will aim to reply to your complaint within 14 days of appointing the investigator but if for any reason it is not possible to comply with this timeframe, they will keep you informed. The Officers reply to your complaint will inform you of:
- The nature and scope of the investigation
- A conclusion on each complaint and the basis for this conclusion
- If the conclusion of the investigation is that your complaint was not justified, the fact that the matter will be closed; and
- Where a complaint is found to be justified, proposals for resolution and / or further action to be taken under chambers’ disciplinary policies.
- In all cases a record will be kept of all complaints, resolutions, conversations and correspondence relating to them. These will be collated and retained by the Complaints Officer on behalf of chambers for a period of 6 years.
If you remain unsatisfied; the Legal Ombudsman
If your complaint relates to legal services that we have provided to you and you are unhappy with the outcome reached by our complaints’ procedure, you may raise your complaint with the Legal Ombudsman. They are an independent body for complaints about lawyers. The Legal Ombudsman is usually not able to consider your complaint until it has been investigated by us. You have 6 months from the date of our final decision to complain to the Legal Ombudsman. Any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must be submitted within 6 years from the date of the act or omission which you are complaining about or within 3 years from the date on which you became aware of it.
The Legal Ombudsman can be written to at:
Office of the Legal Services Ombudsman
PO Box 6806
or contacted by telephone on 0300 555 0333 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org. See also www.legalombudsman.org.uk.
The Bar Standards Board
All barristers are regulated by the Bar Standards Board. If your complaint relates to a barrister who was representing you or providing legal services to you and you are not satisfied with the outcome reached by our complaints procedure, you can contact the Bar Standards Board.
They can be written to at:
Bar Standards Board
289 -293 High Holborn
or contacted by telephone on 020 7611 1444