Complaints Policy & Procedure

Complaints
1.    We aim to provide you with a good 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. The time limits are:
i.    The act or omission, or when the complainant should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint, must have been after 5 October 2010; and
ii.    The complainant must refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman no later than six years from the act/omission, or three years from when the complainant should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
The complainant must also refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of the complaint receiving a final response from their lawyer, if that response complies with the requirements in rule 4.4 of the Scheme Rules (which requires the response to include prominently an explanation that the Legal Ombudsman was available if the complainant remained dissatisfied, and the provision of full contact details for the Ombudsman and a warning that the complaint must be referred to them within six months).
3.    Chambers must have regard to that time frame when deciding whether we are able to investigate your complaint. Chambers will not therefore usually deal with complaints that fall outside of the Legal Ombudsman’s time limits. The Ombudsman can extend the time limit in exceptional circumstances.
4.    The Ombudsman will also only deal with complaints from consumers. This means that only complaints from barristers’ clients are within their jurisdiction. Non-clients who are not satisfied with the outcome of the Chambers’ investigation should contact the Bar Standards Board (BSB) 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 the 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 BSB. Therefore, Chambers will make an initial assessment of the complaint and if they feel that the issues raised cannot be satisfactorily resolved through the chambers complaints process they will refer you to the BSB.

Complaints made by telephone
6.    You may wish to make a complaint in writing (either by post or by email) and, if so, please follow the procedure in paragraph 8 below. However, if you would rather speak on the telephone about your complaint, then please telephone Chambers and ask to speak to the individual nominated under the chambers complaints procedure to deal with complaints, the Head of Chambers – Chris Henley QC. If the complaint is about the Head of Chambers, please speak to the Chambers Administrator – Orla O’Sullivan, who shall direct your complaint appropriately. The person you contact will make a note of the details of your complaint and what you would like to have done about it. They will discuss your concerns with you and aim to resolve them. If the matter is resolved, they 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 it can be investigated formally.

Complaints made in writing
8.    Please give the following details:
i.    Your name and address;
ii.    Which member(s) of Chambers or member(s) of staff you are complaining about;
iii.    The detail of the complaint; and
iv.    What you would like done about it.
9.    Please address your letter to the Head of Chambers – Chris Henley QC. We will, where possible, acknowledge receipt of your complaint within two days and provide you with details of how your complaint will be dealt with.
10.    Chambers has a panel headed by the Head of Chambers 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 their deputy in their absence) will appoint a member of the panel to investigate it. If your complaint is against the head of the panel, the next most senior member of the panel will investigate it. In any case, the person appointed will be someone other than the person you are complaining about.
11.    The person appointed to investigate will write to you as soon as possible to let you know they have been appointed and that they will reply to your complaint within 14 days. If they find later that they are not going to be able to reply within 14 days they will set a new date for their reply and inform you. Their reply will set out:
i.    The nature and scope of their investigation;
ii.    Their conclusion on each complaint and the basis for their conclusion; and
iii.    If they find that you are justified in your complaint, their proposals for resolving the complaint.

Confidentiality
12.    All conversations and documents relating to the complaint will be treated as confidential and will be disclosed only to the extent that is necessary. Any information you provide to us in relation to your complaint will be held and dealt with in accordance with our Data Protection and Privacy policy which can be found here. Disclosure of your complaint and any information you provide 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 member or staff who you have complained about, the head or relevant senior member of the panel and the person who investigates the complaint. The BSB is entitled to inspect the documents and seek information about the complaint when discharging its monitoring functions.

Keeping records
13.    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 records regularly with a view to improving services.
Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman/alternative dispute resolution
14.    If you are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation and you fall within their 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 time frame for referral of complaints to the Ombudsman as set out at paragraph 2 above. Those clients who are able to complain to the Legal Ombudsman are as follows:
i.    Individuals;
ii.    Businesses or enterprises that are micro-enterprises within the meaning of Article 1 and Article 2(1) and (3) of the Annex
to Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC (broadly businesses or enterprises with fewer than 10 employees and turnover or assets not exceeding €2 million);
iii.    Charities with an annual income net of tax of less than £1 million;
iv.    Clubs, associations or organisations, the affairs of which are managed by its members or a committee of its members, with an annual income net of tax of less than £1 million;
v.    Trustees of trusts with an asset value of less than £1 million; and Personal representatives or beneficiaries of the estates of persons who, before they died, had not referred the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.
15.    You can write to the Legal Ombudsman at:
Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ.Telephone number: 0300 555 0333 Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk
16.    More information about the Legal Ombudsman is available on their website: http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/
17.    If you are unhappy with the outcome of the investigation, alternative complaints bodies (such as ProMediate [https://www.promediate.co.uk/] and the Small Claims Mediation Service) also exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services, should you and the barrister both wish to use such a scheme. If you wish to use a mediation service, please contact us to discuss this. Please also note that mediation services may impose time limits for contacting the mediation service, and (2) if mediation is used, neither you nor the barrister is required to accept the proposed resolution. If mediation does not resolve the complaint, you may still make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman (provided you fall within their jurisdiction and you do so within the time limit).
18.    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 Contact and Assessment Team, 289-293 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7JZ Telephone number: 0207 6111 444  Website: www.barstandardsboard.org.uk
Head of Chambers: Chris Henley QC Last Reviewed: September 2020

Data Protection and Privacy Policy
Mountford Chambers is committed to safeguarding the privacy of our clients, employees, instructing solicitors and applicants.
This policy explains what data Mountford Chambers and its members collect from you, how that data is used for the operation of Chambers’ business, and the steps we take to ensure that your data remains secure.

Applicability
This policy applies to all interactions between the clerking team and staff of Mountford Chambers, and:
• Clients of Mountford Chambers.
• Prospective clients of Mountford Chambers.
• Subscribers to Mountford Chambers mailing lists.
• Employees of Mountford Chambers.
• Job applicants.
• Pupillage applicants.
• Mini-pupillage applicants.
• Mini-pupils.
Many members of Chambers have subscribed to this privacy policy; this policy applies to your professional dealings with members of Chambers unless you are specifically advised otherwise by an individual member of Chambers. A list of those members of Chambers who have signed this policy is included in the Members Annex (attached to the policy available in the link above).

Data Protection Officer
Mountford Chambers has appointed a Data Protection Officer (DPO) with responsibility for data protection compliance within the organisation.

Queries
Questions about this policy, or requests for further information, should be directed to the Data Controller in the first instance.
Further queries may be directed as follows:

Orla O’Sullivan
Email    orlaosullivan@mountfordchambers.com
Phone   020 79366300

Data Protection Officer (DPO)
Email   DPO@mountfordchambers.com

What information do we collect?
This section tells you what personal data we may collect from you when you use our services or instruct members of Chambers.

Clients
When you are registered as a client of Mountford Chambers we will usually collect:
• Personal data including name, address(es) and contact details.
• The names and telephone numbers of clients and associates.
• Details of any solicitor or legal representative.
During the course of your dealings with Mountford Chambers and instruction of members of Chambers, we may also receive data such as:
• Details of any legal claim(s) against you or in which you are involved.
• Special category data such as gender, race and nationality.
• Medical, criminal, disciplinary or financial records.
• Images of you or your likeness.

Applicants
During the course of your application for an employed position, pupillage or mini-pupillage at Mountford Chambers, we will usually collect data such as:
• Personal data including name, address(es) and contact details.
• Information about your personal and career history.
• Special category data, including data collected for the purposes of Equality and Diversity monitoring.

Visitors
CCTV images of you may be captured on our premises. IP addresses may be logged on our IT system if you use one or more of the Mountford Chambers Wi-Fi networks or electronic facilities.

Purpose
Mountford Chambers and members of Chambers will use your data as appropriate to:
• Provide services (including legal advice and representation), quotations, and information.
• Communicate with you.
• Facilitate the billing of services.
• Direct enquiries to the appropriate member of Chambers.
• Investigate and address complaints.
• Investigate, address or defend legal proceedings relating to your use of our services.
• Meet our legal obligations and regulatory requirements, including obligations to maintain Equality and Diversity monitoring statistics.
• Carry out activities necessary for the process of employing members of staff, and our pupillage and mini-pupillage application processes.
• Carry out activities necessary for the performance of employment or other contracts to which Mountford Chambers is a party.

Data controllers
Individual members of Chambers are the controllers of any personal data which is supplied to or received by them in the course of and during your instructions for the member to provide legal services.
Mountford Chambers is the controller of your personal data if you are applying for any role within Chambers, if you lodge a complaint about a member of Chambers, or when Chambers processes your personal data in relation to billing or marketing activities.

Data processors
From time-to-time Mountford Chambers and members of Chambers may find it necessary to appoint data processors, or to engage the services of those whose function will make them data processors, for example support staff or pupil (trainee) barristers.
Members of Chambers act as data processors when acting on behalf of Chambers in any capacity involving the administration of Chambers, or the recruitment of staff, pupils and mini-pupils.

How to access your data
As a data subject, you have a number of rights in relation to your personal data.
You have the right to make a Subject Access Request. If an individual makes a subject access request, Mountford Chambers or the member of Chambers to whom the request is addressed will respond to the request within thirty days and will produce a response to the request in line with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) guidelines.
The data subject will need to prove themselves by a form of identification which will be deemed adequate by the Data Protection Officer (DPA). A Subject Access Request to Mountford Chambers or any individual member of Chambers should be submitted to:
Data Protection Officer (DPO)
Email   DPO@mountfordchambers.com
If a Subject Access Request is manifestly unfounded or excessive, the organisation or member of Chambers is not obliged to comply with the request. Alternatively, the organisation or member can agree to respond but, the data subject may be charged a fee if extra costs are incurred to retrieve data, which will be based on the administrative cost of responding to the request. A Subject Access Request is likely to be manifestly unfounded or excessive where it repeats a request to which the organisation has already responded.
If an individual submits a request that is unfounded or excessive, the organisation will notify him/her that this is the case and whether or not it will be responded to.
If we cannot facilitate a request based on limitations with IT functionality, the DPO will notify the individual accordingly, stating what aspect of the request they can respond to.
Whilst we will always aim to respond to any Subject Access Request within the thirty days, if a request takes longer than the regulation timeline, then the data subject will be notified and will be updated, and the request provided at the earliest opportunity.
It should be noted that due to the business practices and the nature of the business model of Mountford Chambers, some data may not be requested under a Subject Access Request for legal reasons. If it is felt that a request may not be granted or fulfilled, the data subject will be informed.
A response to a Subject Access Request will also provide the individual with a copy of the personal data undergoing processing. This will normally be in electronic form if the individual has made a request electronically, unless he/she agrees otherwise.
A data subject has the right to the following information regarding the processing of their data:
• Whether or not their data is processed and if so why.
• The categories of personal data concerned and the source of the data if it is not collected from the individual.
• To whom their data is or may be disclosed, including to recipients located outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and the safeguards that apply to such transfers.
• For how long their personal data is to be stored (or how that period is decided).
• Their rights to rectification or erasure of data, or to restrict or object to processing.
• Their right to complain to the Information Commissioner if they think the organisation or individual has failed to comply with the data subject’s data protection rights.
• Whether or not the organisation carries out automated decision-making and the logic involved in any such decision-making.

Data processing
Personal data will be retained for the shortest time necessary. Please note that some legal cases will require Mountford Chambers or a member of Chambers to hold your data for a significant period after a case has been heard.
Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) you have the following rights to request information from Mountford Chambers and members of Chambers:
• Right of access to the data (Subject Access Request).
• Right for the rectification of errors.
• Right to erasure of personal data (please note, this is not an absolute right).
• Right to restrict processing or to object to processing.
• Right to portability.
Due to the nature and purpose of data we hold (for the purposes of legal representation), the erasure of data may not be possible where such erasure is prohibited by law or where member of Chambers are under a regulatory obligation to retain records.

Lawful basis for processing
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018 are pieces of legislation explaining your rights over the processing of your personal information.
The GDPR requires Mountford Chambers and our members to identify which of six “lawful reasons” we use when processing your data.
In respect of Mountford Chambers:
• we process data on the basis of “consent” when: communicating with you about your case(s); sending newsletters or material relating to Mountford Chambers; and responding to applications for employment, mini-pupillage and pupillage.
• we operate on the basis of “legitimate interest” when: communicating with you in other ways (e.g. when responding to your enquiry or case); when using data to satisfy our regulatory obligations; and when using data for the purposes of maintaining a record of conflicts, quality assurance and training.
• when processing personal data relating to legal cases in order to provide legal services to you, we rely on “legal obligation” and “contract” as our lawful basis for processing.
In respect of members of Chambers, each member of Chambers will be required to handle and process your data in order to effectively act on your instruction. It is vital that barristers are able to process your personal data in order to assist you in your case.
Members of Chambers rely on the following “lawful reasons” for processing your data:
• Members of Chambers rely on the basis of “consent” when: using data to provide legal services to you, and when communicating with you about your case(s).
• Members of Chambers rely on the basis of “legitimate interest” when: processing, storing or retaining data in order to satisfy their regulatory obligations; maintaining a record of conflicts; and where the retention of data is necessary for the defence of legal claims or maintenance of precedents.
• Members of Chambers rely on the basis of “legal obligation” and “contract” when providing legal services to you.
During the course of providing legal service to our clients, Mountford Chambers and members of Chambers may collect, process, store and retain special category data. Such data is processed on the following grounds:
• Where we have consent from the data subject to process data.
• Where we process data manifestly made public.
• Where processing is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.

Consent
Where Mountford Chambers or its members hold and process data on the legal basis of consent, the data subject has the right at any time to withdraw the consent.
Each of our Mountford Briefings and emails relating to lectures, events and news contain a link to unsubscribe from the specific mailing list to which that correspondence is sent. To withdraw your consent for Mountford Chambers to contact you in respect of that mailing list, please follow the ‘unsubscribe’ link provided.
To unsubscribe from multiple or all mailing lists, or to withdraw your consent to be contacted by Mountford Chambers at all, please contact:

Orla O’Sullivan
Email    orlaosullivan@mountfordchambers.com
Phone   020 79366300
To withdraw your consent for Mountford Chambers or a member of Chambers to hold and process your data for any other means, such as in respect of the provision of legal services, please contact the member of Chambers with whom you were previously dealing, or contact the Data Protection Officer.

Members of Chambers
Email   clerks@mountfordchambers.com

Data Protection Officer (DPO)
Email   DPO@mountfordchambers.com
For those under sixteen years of age, consent will often be required from an adult to process information relating to that data subject.
In relation to case data, consent may be obtained by the representing solicitor.

Data security
Mountford Chambers and members of Chambers take the security of personal data seriously.
Mountford Chambers has internal policies and controls in place to protect personal data against loss, accidental destruction, misuse or disclosure, and to ensure that data is not accessed, except by employees in the proper performance of their duties. These controls are implemented under the ICO and the Bar Council guidelines and are subject to regular monitoring and review.
Where Mountford Chambers engages third parties to process personal data on its behalf, such parties do so on the basis of written instructions, are under a duty of confidentiality and are obliged to implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure the security of data.
Our staff, barristers and associates undergo regular Bar Council, data handling and GDPR training, to ensure that our policies and procedures are compliant with all aspects of data protection legislation. Our servers are held in a restricted area and are managed and monitored by IT and cyber data experts. This service is provided by a recognised, vetted and accredited service provider. Encryption for our data and emails are used at all times.
Members of Chambers have a responsibility to control and hold data in a manner commensurate to our security, data and cyber policies and the Bar Council guidelines.
Members of Chambers may also store data on personal electronic devices. All such devices are suitably protected by password protection and encryption.
Every effort shall be made by Mountford Chambers and members of Chambers to ensure the secure electronic storage of data in such a manner as to mitigate any risk of data loss as a result of technological failure or malfunction.
From time-to-time, particularly in legal cases involving parties outside the United Kingdom, data may be transferred to a legal representative not located within the United Kingdom or the European Union (EU).
Mountford Chambers and members of Chambers shall ensure that any such data transfer is undertaken commensurate with our data protection policies and guidelines, and subject to reciprocal undertakings in data security.

Sharing personal information
As an organisation we do not share any information held with third parties unless consent is given by the data subject, or where such disclosure is necessary within the conduct of a legal case, or according to other legal or obligations on Mountford Chambers or members of Chambers.
We will only share information with the following organisations is it felt that we have a legal obligation or are instructed to do so from an authority requiring specific information on a data subject.
• Police forces.
• Government departments.
• Local authorities.
• Consultants or medical professionals.
• Other barristers or legal representatives.
• Chambers clerks assigned to a legal case.
Your data may be transferred to countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA). If any data is transferred outside the EEA it is based on the contractual obligations to third parties and processed in accordance with your data rights.

Complaints procedure
Please contact us directly with any questions or complaints as we aim to resolve any questions relating to data privacy with the data subject immediately.
Contact:
Data Protection Officer (DPO)
Email   DPO@mountfordchambers.com
All legal rights regarding privacy are the responsibility of the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).
More information about their complaints procedure can be found at: https://ico.org.uk/concerns/

ICO registration
Mountford Chambers is an ICO-registered organisation.
Mountford Chambers ICO Registration: ZA246759
All members of chambers are individually ICO-registered.
Details of individual registrations are included in the Members Annex (attached to the policy available as the link above),

Changes to this privacy notice
We reserve the right to make changes to this Privacy Notice from time to time, so please take the time to review it periodically.
Last reviewed: June 2020

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