We cannot usually accept complaints about a barrister, or other person we
regulate, that represented you. We can't
investigate whether or not you got good value from them,
or if they did their job badly (The Legal Ombudsman deals with
these complaints). We can only investigate complaints where they
may have broken the rules or acted in a way that might damage the
public's ability to trust barristers, or other people we regulate.
This would include things like acting dishonestly, taking on work
they are not qualified for, bullying, being racist or being
If you want to make a complaint about your
barrister, or another person we regulate who represented
you, you should complain to the Legal Ombudsman. If there are
parts of your complaint that the Legal Ombudsman thinks we should
consider (for example, because they took on work they were not
qualified for, or were racist) they will pass your complaint on to
us. You don't need to do anything to make this happen.
The Legal Ombudsman can usually only investigate
a complaint if you have first complained to your barrister's
chambers, or the other person we regulate's place of work, and
been unhappy with their response, so you should do that first. If
you don't get a response you are happy with, you should make a
complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months.
Legal Ombudman's website has some very helpful information on
making a complaint.
If you were given advice or representation by a
barrister who was unregistered (this means they do not have a
current practising certificate) you can complain directly to us, as
the Legal Ombudsman cannot deal with these complaints. This might
be someone that represented you at an employment or benefits
tribunal. They are not allowed to refer to themselves as barristers
when giving you legal help, but are often called things like lay
representative or consultant.
We still can't investigate things like whether
you got good value, or if they did their job badly, and can't order
them to pay compensation, but we can look at whether they have
broken the rules for unregistered barristers.
You can check if your barrister is registered by searching
The Barristers' Register or by contacting the Bar
Council's Records Office (email Membership@BarCouncil.org.uk or
call them on 020 7242 0934). They are open Monday
9am-3pm, Tuesday-Thursday 10am-3pm, and Friday 10am-5pm.
"My father-in-law was going to be made to
leave the country so we found a barrister to help us appeal the
decision. The barrister lied and told us he'd submitted all the
paperwork in time but it turns out he hadn't and the deadline for
the appeal passed, and there was nothing we could do. My
father-in-law was deported, and my wife was heartbroken. We made a
complaint to the barrister's chambers but never got a response, so
we made a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. They passed the case on
to the Bar Standards Board. It took a while, but the barrister was
disbarred in the end".
The information in these pages applies
to barristers, and other people we regulate, in England and
The law that regulates barristers and lawyers is
complicated. We have simplified things to give you an idea of how
it applies to your situation. Please don't rely on these pages as a
complete statement of the law.
The quotes and cases we refer to are
not always real but show a typical situation. We hope they help you
to understand the system better and think about what might happen
to the complaint.