Barristers at Stour Chambers are regulated by the Bar Standards Board. You can search for barristers who are authorised to practise in England and Wales on the Barristers’ Register here https://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/for-the-public/search-a-barristers-record/the-barristers-register.html
In addition, The Office for Legal Complaints is empowered by the Legal Services Act 2007 to publish information on ombudsman decisions, you can view here https://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/raising-standards/data-and-decisions/#ombudsman-decision-data
1. Stour Chambers aims to provide you with an excellent service at all times. However, if you have a complaint you are invited to let us know as soon as possible. It is not necessary to involve solicitors in order to make your complaint but you are free to do so should you wish.
2. Please note that the Legal Ombudsman, the independent complaints body for service complaints about lawyers, has time limits in which a complaint must be raised with them. Details can be found in section 4 of the Ombudsman’s Rules at http://legalombudsman.org.uk/downloads/documents/publications/Scheme-Rules.pdf but in summary the following requirements must ordinarily be satisfied:
Time Limit from Final response
(1) the act or omission, or when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint, must have been after 5 October 2010.
(2) You must refer the complaint to the Ombudsman no later than:
a) Six years from the act or omission; or
b) Three years from when you should reasonable have known there was cause for complaint.
3. The Ombudsman can extend the time limit in exceptional circumstances. Chambers must therefore have regard to that timeframe when deciding whether they are able to investigate your complaint. Chambers will not therefore usually deal with complaints that fall outside of the Legal Ombudsman’s time limits.
4. The Ombudsman will also only deal with complaints from consumers. This means that only complaints from the barrister’s client are within their jurisdiction. Non-clients who are not satisfied with the outcome of Stour’s investigation should contact the Bar Standards Board rather than the Legal Ombudsman.
5. It should be noted that it may not always be possible to investigate a complaint brought by a non-client. This is because our ability of Chambers to satisfactorily investigate and resolve such matters is limited and complaints of this nature are often better suited to the disciplinary processes maintained by the Bar Standards Board. Therefore, Chambers will make an initial assessment of the complaint and if we feel that the issues raised cannot be satisfactorily resolved through our complaints process, we will refer you to the Bar Standards Board.
Complaints Made by Telephone
6. You may wish to make a complaint in writing and, if so, please follow the procedure in paragraph 8 and 9 below. However, if you would rather speak on the telephone about your complaint then please telephone the individual nominated under our Complaints Procedure to deal with complaints, Mr M Goddard (Senior Clerk), or if the complaint is about Mr M Goddard, telephone Mr S Johnson (Head of Chambers). The person you contact will make a note of the details of your complaint and what you would like done about it. That person will discuss your concerns with you and aim to resolve them. If the matter is resolved, that person will record the outcome, check that you are satisfied with the outcome and record that you are satisfied. You may also wish to record the outcome of the telephone discussion in writing.
7. If your complaint is not resolved on the telephone you will be invited to write to us about it so we are able to investigate the matter formally.
Complaints made in Writing
8. Please give the following details:
• Your name and address;
• Which barrister (s) you are complaining about;
• The detail of the complaint; and
• What you would like done about it
Please address your letter to the appropriate individual nominated under paragraph 6 above, at Stour Chambers, 8 Vernon Place, Canterbury, Kent CT1 3HG. We will, where possible, acknowledge receipt of your complaint within two working days and provide you with details of how your complaint will be dealt with.
9. Chambers has a panel headed by Mr S Johnson and made up of experienced members of Chambers and a senior member of staff, which considers any written complaint. Within 14 days of your letter being received the head of the panel or his deputy in his absence will appoint a member of the panel to investigate it. In any case, the person appointed will be someone other than the person you are complaining about.
10. The person appointed to investigate will write to you as soon as possible to let you know he has been appointed and that he will reply to your complaint within 14 days. If he finds later that he is not going to be able to reply within 14 days he will set a new date for his reply and inform you. His reply will set out:
• The nature and scope of his investigation;
• His conclusion on each complaint and the basis for his conclusion; and
• If he finds that you are justified in your complaint, his proposals for resolving the complaint.
11. All conversations and documents relating to the complaint will be treated as confidential and will be disclosed only to the extent that is necessary. Disclosure will be to the Head of Chambers, members of our management committee and to anyone involved in the complaint and its investigation. Such people will include the barrister or member of staff who you have complained about, the head or relevant senior member of the panel and the person who investigates the complaint. The Bar Standard Board is entitled to inspect the documents and seek information about the complaint when discharging its auditing and monitoring functions.
12. As part of our commitment to client care we make a written record of any complaint and retain all documents and correspondence generated by the complaint for a period of six years. Our management committee inspects an anonymised record regularly with a view to improving services.
Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman
13. If you are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation and you fall within his jurisdiction you may take up your complaint with the Legal Ombudsman, the independent complaints body for complaints about lawyers, at the conclusion of our consideration of your complaint. The Ombudsman is not able to consider your complaint until it has first been investigated by Chambers. Please note the timeframe for referral of complaints to the Ombudsman as set out at paragraph 2 above.
You can write to them at:
PO Box 6806
Telephone number: 0300 555 0333
14. If you are not the barrister’s client and are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation then please contact the Bar Standards Board at:
Bar Standards Board
Professional Conduct Department
289-293 High Holborn
Telephone number: 020 7611 1444
This set comes recommended for its members' expertise in children and matrimonial finance matters. The children cases range across both public and private law work, and include those concerning non-accidental injury, sexual abuse and fabricated illness. On the financial side, the set's barristers demonstrate the ability to act in substantial financial remedies cases as well as Schedule 1 and TOLATA matters.~ Chambers UK Bar Guide 2020
Stour Chambers has 'a range of barristers at different levels suited for different cases'. Members continue to be instructed in complex multi-day cases in the public law space, where it provides 'expert counsel' across Kent and further afield involving non-accidental injury, sexual abuse and extreme neglect. On the family finance front, Elizabeth Spence is a go-to barrister for high-value cases with issues of minority shareholdings and opponents deploying hostile litigation tactics.~ Legal 500 Bar Guide 2021