Facing a complaint

This information is for you if you are a barrister, or another person we regulate, and have been told that we are investigating a complaint about you. It will explain what happens now, how we investigate complaints, how long it all takes, and what you need to do. We have written this information in plain English so that it is easy and quick to read. If you would prefer to read the regulations that set out the procedure, you can do so in part five of the Handbook.


If you have been told that we have received a complaint about you, you might be worried or feel that it is completely unfounded. Try not to be too concerned. It is important for the reputation of the profession that we have a rigorous and transparent system which gives both parties the chance to explain their side of the story. We always try to ensure that we deal with all complaints fairly, consistently, and quickly, for the benefit of everyone concerned.


We will only look at complaints about a barrister's, or other person we regulate's, professional conduct, or things which impact on their professional conduct like criminal convictions.


Usually the complaint will have been made by a member of the litigation on the other side or your lay client, but it could also be a barrister, another person we regulate or a judge. Alternatively, the complaint may have been raised by us as a result of information we have been given that suggests you might have broken the Code of Conduct set out in our Handbook. This information might have come from the Legal Ombudsman or another regulator, a member of the public, a solicitor, a judge or another barrister, or other person we regulate, fulfilling their duty to report any serious misconduct.


If you need any help in responding to the complaint because of a disability or impairment please get in touch with us straight away to tell us how we can best help you. You can phone our switchboard on 020 7611 1444 and ask to speak to the person dealing with your case. Their name will be on the letter you received about the complaint. We are here from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.


Alternatively you can email us at assessmentcomplaints@barstandardsboard.org.uk


We are committed to ensuring that nobody is disadvantaged in making or responding to a complaint because of a disability or impairment. We can, for example, provide our information in different formats such as Braille, large print or on CD. We can also give you additional time to respond to our enquiries.