21 September 2019

Complaints about our service

We know that, as in any organisation, things can sometimes go wrong. We want you to tell us if this happens, so that we can put things right if at all possible and learn from any mistakes.

This policy sets out our approach and procedures for handling complaints about the services provided by the Bar Standards Board (BSB).

In many cases a problem can be dealt with quickly and informally as soon as it arises. Please raise your problem with the staff member concerned, or with their manager. Contact details can be found on our website here, or by calling the central phone number 020 7611 1444.

To formally register your complaint, either fill in our service complaints form, or write to:
FAO: Corporate Support Manager
Bar Standards Board
289-293 High Holborn
London WC1V 7HZ
DX: 240 LDE
Email: servicecomplaints@barstandardsboard.org.uk

Please provide:

  • your contact details;
  • a concise account of your concerns;
  • the names of the people involved; and
  • an indication of how you think your complaint could be resolved.

Complaints about a barrister and complaints about regulatory decisions and hearings


We have different systems for dealing with the following:

  • Complaints about a barrister - Visit our Concerns about a barrister section.
  • Comments about Committee or Hearing decisions, or the conduct of our Board or Committee members - Please email us with your comments.

What complainants can expect from us

You can expect a full response within 20 working days. If this is not possible, we will write to you to explain the reasons why, and to provide a new date.



If your complaint is upheld, this will result in one or more of the following remedies:

  • a full acknowledgement and explanation of any poor service
  • an apology
  • appropriate action to rectify the situation
  • appropriate action to improve our services

If you are not satisfied with the response received from us, you can ask for the matter to be reviewed within three weeks of receiving a full response from us. Please tell us the reason why you are dissatisfied and we will assign a different, usually more senior member of staff to review your complaint. There is a third and final review stage whereby we will ask a Director or the Director General to review your complaint if you are still dissatisfied. 

There are some circumstances where we will not investigate a complaint. For example if it has been previously made to us about the same issue or is thought to be frivolous, vexatious or malicious.

Because the investigation of service complaints generally relies on detailed understanding of the communications and actions that happened at the time of the event, complaints should be made within three months after the event occurs.


What we expect from complainants


So that we can handle and investigate your complaint effectively, we ask that you engage with us in a constructive manner in order to help us understand your concerns and deal with the issues arising.

Our staff have the right to work in a safe environment and should not have to tolerate abusive language or behaviour.

We have a Dignity at Work Policy for our staff members which describes the action we can take to protect them if a complainant behaves in a way that we consider to be bullying or harassing.


 Examples of unacceptable behaviour include:

  • use of abusive, obscene or threatening language
  • comments of a discriminatory nature
  • repeated unnecessary phone calls or refusal to end telephone conversations
  • persistent emailing or letter writing which does not provide additional information 
  • persistent and unfounded new complaints arising out of the same facts

Types of restriction we might place on communications include:

  • no further calls will be accepted and all future contact must be in writing
  • calls and correspondence might be dealt with by a different staff member
  • correspondence will only be replied to if it is raising new issues or concerns
  • correspondence will not be replied to if it contains abusive, obscene or threatening language, or discriminatory comments

The level of restriction will be proportionate and restrictions will only be applied where it is clear that continuing open communication will adversely affect the ability of staff to conduct business.