Barristers seek carve-outs from telling clients about complaints procedures

Print This Post

By Legal Futures

29 September 2010


Cell: the best place to provide complaints-handling information?

Barristers need some carve-outs from the requirements to tell clients about their complaints procedure, the Legal Services Board (LSB) is to be told.

New rules coming into force from 6 October, when the Legal Ombudsman goes live, mean that all lawyers must notify new clients in writing at the time of engagement, or existing clients “at the next appropriate opportunity”, of their right to make a complaint, including to the ombudsman at the conclusion of the in-house process.

Speaking at the recent Bar Standards Board (BSB) meeting, Charles Hollander QC – chairman of the board’s standards committee – suggested that the difficulties this could cause barristers in some circumstances were the result of the LSB officials who drafted it not understanding the realities of barristers’ practice.

Mr Hollander pointed out that barristers often do not meet their clients – board member Sam Stein QC added that sometimes they never even learn the name of the client if just providing advice. Mr Hollander also said it would be strange if the first thing a barrister had to do when meeting a client in a police cell was to give them a copy of their complaints procedure.

However, as the wording of the provisions is “innocuous”, there may be ways around them, such as the solicitor providing the information on the barrister’s behalf.

Mr Stein, who chairs the quality assurance committee, said the BSB planned to make proposals to the LSB that would clarify the situation.

Tags: , ,



Leave a comment

* Denotes required field

All comments will be moderated before posting. Please see our Terms and Conditions

Legal Futures Blog

Woebots and robots

Nadia chatbot

The chances are that you may not be entirely sure what a bot or a chatbot is. So, the news that, “starting today, DoNotPay is opening up so that anyone can create legal bots for free (with no technical knowledge)” may be a bit opaque. But bots have their devotees. The picture is of Nadia, an Australian bot being developed to give information on disability benefits with the voice of Cate Blanchett. The editor of Chatbots Magazine (OK, no neutral source) is pretty clear about their future. He writes articles with titles like ‘How bots will completely kill websites and mobile apps’. Joshua Browder, the creator of the DoNotPay parking ticket challenger, is behind what he hopes will be this major expansion of legal bots.

July 21st, 2017