This section gives you information on what you can do and who you can talk to if you are not happy with the service you have received from your barrister, or if you think a barrister has acted wrongly. It also contains information about the things which are in place to protect you.
Changing your barrister
If you are not happy with the service you are receiving from your barrister for any reason, you are allowed to change barristers. However, there may be some extra costs involved in doing this as you would have to instruct a new barrister and they would need to get up to speed on your case.
Concerns about your barrister or another barrister
If you are concerned about the service you have received from your barrister during your case, you should start by raising the matter with them.
We do not deal with complaints about barristers if you are their client. The Legal Ombudsman deals with matters like this, so in these circumstances, you should contact them. There is more information about this on our website in the section called "Concerns about a barrister?".
We can investigate where barristers who are not working for you may have broken the rules or acted in a way that might damage the public's ability to trust barristers. This would include things like acting dishonestly, misleading the court, bullying, being racist or being homophobic. You can also read more about this in the section called "Concerns about a barrister?".
Your rights and protections
There are rules that barristers have to follow to ensure that they remain independent and always act in the best interests of their clients. We give some examples below.
All barristers have to have professional indemnity insurance. This is a type of insurance policy that will cover them if they make a mistake which causes you to lose money. This means that you can make a claim if you lose out financially due to the actions of your barrister.
Conflicts of interest
Barristers cannot work for you in a situation where they would have a conflict of interest. A conflict of interest is where a person should act in a certain way but they have, or appear to have, a reason that would make them act differently. For example, if you instruct a barrister they should be acting in your best interests. However, if the person you were up against in court was a friend or family member of your barrister, it might look like they would not do their best for you. This is a possible conflict of interest.
Barristers and data protection
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) controls how your personal information is used by businesses, organisations, and the government. Barristers are covered by it too.
A barrister may hold a lot of personal information about you including contact details, account details, and sometimes sensitive personal information. The data protection rules mean that they have to keep this information accurate, safe and secure, and only keep it for as long as is necessary. You can find out more about your data protection rights on the Information Commissioner website.
GDPR also gives you the right to ask a barrister for a copy of information they hold about you. They are then legally required to give you this and are not allowed to charge you a fee for this. You are entitled to receive a response to your request within one month of receipt of the request.
If you are not satisfied with the response of a barrister to your request, you can complain to the Information Commissioner. You can also complain to the Information Commissioner if a barrister does not keep your information safe and secure. More information on how to do this can be found on their website.