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Blackstone Chambers is a substantial civil law set. Members of Chambers are all self employed and in independent practice at the Bar.

Whilst sharing the costs of offices and administration, barristers do not share in profits of liabilities. Each practitioner is registered with the Bar Council; practicing details are available to view on the Barristers’ Register maintained by the Bar Standards Board.

Professional indemnity insurance

All practising barristers in these Chambers maintain (as a minimum) professional liability insurance provided by the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund, managed by the Bar Mutual Management Company, 90 Fenchurch Street, London EC3M 4ST. Territorial coverage is worldwide, subject to the terms of cover of the Bar Mutual.

Each barrister is VAT registered. Details are available for individuals on each barrister CV page.

Governance

Chambers is governed by a written constitution. Heads of Chambers are elected for a fixed five year term. The current Heads of Chambers are Monica Carss-Frisk QC and Tony Peto QC. 

A Chambers Management Committee is also directly elected, with a variety of functional committees operating to cover specific areas of Chambers' administration.

Barristers' Register

Barristers in Blackstone Chambers are regulated by the Bar Standards Board.  

All barristers’ details are contained on The Barristers’ Register, the online database maintained by the BSB.  This is fully searchable and displays details of all barristers who are authorised to practise in England and Wales and who have a current practising certificate with the dates of validity.  It includes information about barristers' practising status, their practising address, the reserved legal activities they are authorised to undertake and whether they have been the subject of any disciplinary findings which are published on its website.

The Barristers’ Register is available at https://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/regulatory-requirements/the-barristers'-register/

Alternatively, the Bar Standards Board is contactable by phone on 020 7611 1444 or e-mail: contactus@barstandardsboard.org.uk.

Client confidentiality and conflicts policy

We also recognise the absolute importance of client confidentiality.  Members of Chambers and staff are fully cognisant of the duty to keep the affairs of each client confidential (Core Duty 6 of the Bar Standards Board’s Handbook and rC89.5).

Blackstone Chambers is a substantial civil law set and due to the number of specialist counsel in these Chambers, we are often instructed for multiple parties to a case.   We have for many years, therefore, maintained a properly formulated conflicts policy which operates where these circumstances occur. 

Please contact Julia Hornor for more information about our policy and procedures if required.

Complaints

We are very keen to ensure that the service we offer, whether by a practising member of chambers or by a member of the administrative staff, is of the highest quality. We welcome feedback from solicitors and lay clients and, should we receive any complaint, it will be taken very seriously.  If you should have any concerns about any administrative or other matters in Chambers, please raise them with either Julia Hornor, our Chambers Director, or Gary Oliver, our Senior Clerk.

If you wish to invoke our complaints procedure, details of that procedure are set out below.

1. Blackstone Chambers prides itself on the excellence of its service.   If at any time you have any concerns about the quality of the services of our barristers or members of staff you are invited to let us know as soon as possible.

2. In line with our friendly and open approach, in the first instance, we would always encourage you to discuss any day-to-day concerns about the services of our barristers directly with them.  Any such concerns can also always be raised with our clerking team, and, in particular, with Gary Oliver, our Senior Clerk. 

3. Any concerns about members of staff should be raised with Gary Oliver or Julia Hornor, our Chambers Director, as appropriate.  If the complaint is about either the senior clerk or the chambers director, please discuss the matter with the Head(s) of Chambers. 

4. We would very much hope that the matter can be resolved at this point, and that you will be satisfied with the outcome.  

5. However, if you feel that the concern or matter you have raised has not been dealt with to your satisfaction, then you may wish to make a formal complaint.  We set out the steps in our formal complaints procedure below.

6. You should be aware that the Legal Ombudsman, the independent complaints body for service complaints about lawyers, (see paragraph 12 below) has a twelve month limit from the date of the act or omission about which you are complaining within which to take your complaint.  We will have regard to that timeframe when deciding whether we are able to investigate any complaint and we reserve the right not to deal with complaints falling outside the twelve month time limit.

Formal complaints procedure

7. Please address your formal letter of complaint to Julia Hornor, our Chambers Director, Blackstone Chambers, Blackstone House, Temple, London EC4Y 9BW.  Please give the following details: your name and address, which member(s) of Chambers (or staff) you are complaining about; the detail of the complaint; and what you would like done about it

8. Within 21 days of your letter being received the Head(s) of Chambers or their deputy in their absence will investigate the complaint themselves in conjunction with the chambers director and the senior clerk.  If your complaint is against the Head(s) of Chambers it will be investigated by the next most senior member of our Chambers Management Committee in conjunction with the chambers director and the senior clerk.  In any case, the persons investigating the complaint will be someone other than the person you are complaining about

9. The person handling the investigation 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 21 days.  If they find later that they are not going to be able to reply within 21 days they will set a new date for their reply and inform you.  Their reply will set out:

         The nature and scope of their investigation;

         Their conclusion on each complaint and the basis for their conclusion; and

         If they find that you are justified in your complaint, their proposals for resolving the complaint.

At the conclusion of the complaints process, the person handling the investigation will forward a further copy of this complaints procedure to the complainant with their response to the complaint, drawing attention to the matters set out in paragraphs 12 – 15 below.

Confidentiality 

10. 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(s) of Chambers, our senior clerk and our chambers director and will include anyone else we consider necessary to involve in the complaint and its investigation. Such people will include the barrister member or staff member about whom you have complained.  If such a complaint is made, we will assume that you are authorising those investigating the complaint to view all the papers or other correspondence relevant to the matter.

Our policy 

11. As part of our commitment to client care we will make a written record of any formal complaint.

Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman or the Bar Standards Board (professional regulatory body for barristers)

12. We hope that you will use our procedure and that this will resolve any outstanding issues.   However if you are unhappy with the outcome, you do have the choice of taking up your complaint with the Legal Ombudsman (the “LeO”).  The LeO has responsibility for dealing with all service complaints against legal professionals and normally can only consider complaints once the Chambers’ complaints procedure has been exhausted.  

A complaint to the LeO must be made either within 6 years of the barrister’s actions/failure to act, or no later than 3 years after you should reasonably have known there were ground to complain.  

Any complaint you make to the LeO must be made within 6 months of receiving the final response to your complaint from the barrister concerned.

13. You can write to the Legal Ombudsman at:

PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ

enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

0300 555 0333

More information about the LeO is available on their website: http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk

14. Decision data sets out the names of legal service providers which received an ombudsman’s decision in the previous 12 months. It sets out whether the LeO required any provider to give the consumer/complainant a remedy.  This can be viewed at http://legalombudsman.org.uk/raising-standards/date-and-decisions/#ombudsman-decision-data

15. The Bar Standards Board investigates complaints of professional misconduct or professional disciplinary issues.

16. You can write to the Bar Standards Board at:

Complaints Department

Bar Standards Board

289-293 High Holborn 

London WC1V 7HZ

DX: 240 LDE

Tel: 020 7611 1444

Website:  https://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/


(Updated:  December 2019) 

Clerks

Staff