The Bar Council is considering radical reform of its complaints handling system – even though its current arrangement is praised by the Legal Services Ombudsman.
As predicted in The Lawyer last week, Ann Abraham's annual report blasts the Law Society's complaints handing for “spiralling out of control” to such an extent that its ability to protect the public is “in jeopardy”.
By contrast, she says, the Bar Council is making “quiet but significant progress in the wings”.
Nevertheless, the Bar Council has sent a consultation document to every chambers in the country, plus “interested outsiders”, inviting views on radical reform proposals from an independent Complaints System Working Group.
Proposed reforms include changing the compensation limit and extending the Bar Council's inadequate professional service jurisdiction to cover situations where the barrister is covered by advocate's immunity.
Bar Council spokesman Jon McLeod tells The Lawyer: “There is no fixed view as to whether we adopt them [proposals]. It is up to barristers and the outside world to say if they are in the public interest.”
He adds that there are likely to be changes to the current system: “It works well but is capable of improvement.”