Chambers set for complaints overhaul

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has launched a consultation into improving the effectiveness of complaints handling by chambers.

The BSB approved recommendations in June on how to improve the procedures currently in place to both protect the public interest and allow for effective provision of barristers’ services.

Ruth Evans, the chair of the BSB, said effective complaints handling is in the public interest as clients should be able to have confidence that a complaint sent directly to chambers will be dealt with in a transparent and fair manner.

The consultation will focus on how the proposed measures should be introduced in practical terms.

The proposals include a mandatory complaints procedure with which all sets must comply and guidelines on how to amend the current guidance and advice to fulfil these requirements. The recommendations also look to promote training in complaints handling.

The BSB said it is satisfied that there is strong evidence to suggest that there is room for improvement in the existing arrangements and requirements for chambers’ handling of complaints.

Evans added: “The measures that we are proposing to implement, coupled with the new training programme on complaints handling, will help consistency of complaints handling across chambers and ensure that every chambers has the skills and procedures to deal with complaints competently.”