Barristers specialise in advocacy in the courts and tribunals, and in drafting legal documents. They work in offices known as 'chambers'.

Barristers must register with the Bar Council. The Council makes sure barristers abide by professional codes of conduct and work in a competent manner.

Complaints about poor service

Poor service is a broad concept that is likely to cover complaints that arise where a barrister has:

  • Caused unreasonable delays;
  • Managed your case unprofessionally;
  • Not done what you instructed them to do;
  • Given you inaccurate or incomplete information; or
  • Failed to reply to your correspondence or keep you updated on your case.

Complaints about professional code of conduct

All barristers must act according to their professional code of conduct. If your barrister doesn't obey this code then they may have committed professional misconduct. For example, they may be guilty of professional misconduct if they commit any one of the following acts:

  • Misleading the court
  • Failing to keep information confidential
  • Acting dishonestly or in a way that damages the profession's reputation
  • Discriminating against you because of your race, sex, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, age or marital/civil partnership status

For more information about professional misconduct, see the website of the Bar Standards Board.

How to complain

If you have any complaints about the quality of service, negligence and any professional misconduct (if they're acting for you), you must first refer them to the Legal Ombudsman.

The Legal Ombudsman is the body responsible for dealing with complaints about poor service. It can award up to £50,000 if the poor service has caused you loss.

The Legal Ombudsman can then refer issues of professional misconduct to the Bar Standards Board (an independent regulatory board of the Bar Council).

See the Legal Ombudsman for more information.

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