Standard Contractual Terms
Standard Contractual Terms for the Supply of Legal Services by Barristers to Authorised Persons 2012. Please click here to download our full contractual terms.
1. FOURTEEN aims to provide you a good service at all times; however, if you have a complaint, you are invited to let us know as soon as possible. It is not necessary to involve solicitors in order to make your complaint but you are free to do so, should you wish.
2. Please note that the Legal Ombudsman, the independent complaints body for service complaints about lawyers, has time limits in which a complaint must be raised with them. The time limits are:
a) Six years from the date of the act/omission.
b) Three years from the date the complainant should reasonably have known there were grounds for complaint (if the act/omission took place before the 6th October 2010 or was more than six years ago).
c) Within six months of the complainant receiving a final response as to their complaint to FOURTEEN, if that response complies with the requirements in rule 4.4 of the Scheme Rules (which requires the response to include prominently an explanation that the Legal Ombudsman is available if the complainant remained dissatisfied and the provision of full contact details for the ombudsman and a warning that the complaint must be referred to the Legal Ombudsman within six months).
d) If the complaint to FOURTEEN has not been resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction within eight weeks of being made to the Chair of Complaints at FOURTEEN.
3. The Ombudsman can extend the time limit in exceptional circumstances. FOURTEEN must therefore have regard to that timeframe when deciding whether they are able to investigate your complaint. We will not therefore usually deal with complaints that fall outside of the Legal Ombudsman’s time limits.
4. The Ombudsman will also only deal with complaints from consumers. This means that only complaints from the barrister’s client are within their jurisdiction. Non-clients who are not satisfied with the outcome of FOURTEEN’s investigation should contact the Bar Standards Board rather than the Legal Ombudsman.
5. It should be noted that it may not always be possible to investigate a complaint brought by a non-client. This is because our ability to investigate and resolve such matters satisfactorily is limited and complaints of this nature are often better suited to the disciplinary processes maintained by the Bar Standards Board. Therefore, FOURTEEN will make an initial assessment of the complaint and, if we feel that the issues raised cannot be satisfactorily resolved through our complaints process, we will refer you to the Bar Standards Board.
Complaints Made by Telephone
6. You may wish to make a complaint in writing and, if so, please follow the procedure in paragraph 7 below. However, if you would rather speak on the telephone about your complaint, then please telephone the individual nominated under our Complaints Procedure to deal with complaints, Miss J. Connell, or (if the complaint is about a member of staff) Mr J-P Schulz (Practice Director). If the complaint is about Mr Schulz, telephone Miss Connell. If the complaint is about Miss Connell, telephone Mr Schulz. The person you contact will make a note of the details of your complaint and what you would like done about it. That person will discuss your concerns with you and aim to resolve them. If the matter is resolved, that person will record the outcome, check that you are satisfied with the outcome and record that you are satisfied. You may also wish to record the outcome of the telephone discussion in writing.
7. If your complaint is not resolved on the telephone you will be invited to write to us about it so it can be investigated formally.
Complaints made in Writing
8. Please give the following details:
• Your name and address;
• Which barrister(s) you are complaining about;
• The detail of the complaint; and
• What you would like done about it.
Please address your letter to Miss J. Connell at FOURTEEN, 14 Gray’s Inn Square, London, WC1R 5JP. We will, where possible, acknowledge receipt of your complaint within two days and provide you with details of how your complaint will be dealt with.
9. FOURTEEN has a panel, headed by Miss J. Connell and made up of experienced members of Chambers and a senior member of staff, which considers any written complaint. Within 14 days of your letter being received, the head of the panel or his/her deputy in his/her absence will appoint a member of the panel to investigate it. If your complaint is against the head of the panel, the next most senior member of the panel will investigate it. In any case, the person appointed will be someone other than the person you are complaining about.
10. The person appointed to investigate will write to you as soon as possible to let you know (s)he has been appointed and that (s)he will reply to your complaint within 14 days. If (s)he finds later that (s)he is not going to be able to reply within 14 days, (s)he will set a new date for his/her reply and inform you. His/her reply will set out:
• The nature and scope of his/her investigation;
• His/her conclusion on each complaint and the basis for his/her conclusion; and
• If (s)he finds that you are justified in your complaint, his/her proposals for resolving the complaint.
11. All conversations and documents relating to the complaint will be treated as confidential and will be disclosed only to the extent that is necessary. Disclosure will be to the Head of Chambers, members of our management committee and to anyone involved in the complaint and its investigation. Such people will include the barrister or member of staff who you have complained about, the head or relevant senior member of the panel and the person who investigates the complaint. The Bar Standards Board is entitled to inspect the documents and seek information about the complaint when discharging its auditing and monitoring functions.
11. As part of our commitment to client care we make a written record of any complaint and retain all documents and correspondence generated by the complaint for a period of six years. Our management committee inspects an anonymised record regularly with a view to improving services.
All members of FOURTEEN are registered under the Data Protection Act.
FOURTEEN uses the information you provide to improve our services to you. From time to time, and in order to complete specific tasks, e.g. registration for seminars and events or applications made to join us, FOURTEEN will ask for certain information about you, such as your name, where you work, your email or other contact details, and what areas of law you are particularly interested in. You are also able to provide further information to us at your discretion. We do not store credit card details, nor do we share customer details with any third parties.
We may use the information you give us, together with other information, to provide legal services, to assist us with marketing, administration and training. We may send you information about forthcoming events and services that may be of particular interest to you, in light of the data that you have provided. To this end, FOURTEEN may disclose your information to our service providers and agents as well as third party companies who provide such services to us. FOURTEEN also reserves the right to access and disclose personal information provided by you to comply with relevant laws, to operate our website’s systems properly and to protect us and other users. Save as aforementioned, FOURTEEN will not sell, distribute or disclose information about you to others without your consent or unless required or permitted to do so by law.
You have a right to access the information that we hold about you. Please send any such request to our Practice Director.
If you wish to unsubscribe from our mailing list, please contact the clerks by email or telephone on 020 7242 0858.
Payment on our website is invariably for the provision of legal seminars and training events. The delivery of those services occurs on the date advertised in relation to the particular seminar or event to which the payment relates. Payment is taken in full for the event or seminar unless where otherwise stated.
In the event that you wish to cancel your registration for a particular event or seminar, please notify the clerks by email as soon as possible. Payment will be refunded within 14 days of your contacting FOURTEEN to cancel the registration. In the event that a training event or seminar is cancelled by FOURTEEN, payment will either be refunded or the event will be re-scheduled and you will be kept fully informed in those circumstances. In the event that you have any queries or would like further information, please do not hesitate to contact the clerks by email or telephone.
FOURTEEN’s conditional fee policy exists in accordance with the guidance from the Bar Standards Board.
Equality & Diversity
FOURTEEN is firmly committed to equal opportunities for all. FOURTEEN is also committed to providing a working environment in which all individuals, including members of Chambers, pupils, mini-pupils and employees, are treated with dignity and respect.
FOURTEEN recognises and adopts the following regulatory and legislative provisions:
“A barrister must not, in his professional practice, discriminate unlawfully against, victimise or harass any other person on the grounds of race, colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, citizenship, sex, gender re-assignment, sexual orientation, marital or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, disability, age or religion or belief”.
The fundamental equality principle is drafted to accord with the provisions of the Equality Act 2010, which apply to barristers (s.47).
The requirement not to discriminate applies to a barrister in all aspects of his or her professional life. The requirement not to discriminate improperly applies to a barrister’s relationship with “any other person” in the course of his/her professional dealings. Therefore the requirement may be interpreted as covering a barrister’s relationship with (the below list is not exhaustive):
- Clerks and other chambers’ staff;
- Court staff;
- Instructing solicitors and their staff;
- Other barristers; and
Equal opportunities must be provided without unlawful discrimination:
- In the recruitment of members of Chambers, pupils and employees. This includes the procedures adopted for selecting members of Chambers, pupils and employees, and any terms of pupillage or employment provided, and in offering or refusing a person tenancy, pupillage, or employment;
- In all dealings with or on behalf of Chambers, pupils and employees;
- In offering access to opportunities for promotion, transfer and training;
- In the career development of members of Chambers, pupils and employees and ensuring fair allocation and distribution of work;
- In ensuring that members of Chambers, pupils and employees are not treated unfavourably in any other way.
- FOURTEEN is committed to supporting disabled clients, barristers, pupils, employees and visitors to Chambers. Reasonable adjustments will be made in respect of support and access to facilities.
- FOURTEEN is committed to a written anti-harassment policy and will not tolerate or condone harassment.
- FOURTEEN is committed to allowing members of Chambers to take parental, sickness and sabbatical leave. Full details are set out in the Parental and Leave Policies.
All members of Chambers, pupils and employees are required to comply with this policy. Failure to do so will result in the implementation of disciplinary procedures.
Obligation of Members of Chambers
If at any time during membership of Chambers, or pupillage, or employment at Chambers any person(s) believe that this policy is being or has been violated by any person, in any manner, then the following action should be taken:
- Raise it with Chambers Equality and Diversity Officer, currently Mr Robin Powell, who will discuss and implement action as agreed with the complainant;
- Otherwise contact the Head of Chambers, who will take appropriate action to address and resolve the matter; and
- In the case of formal complaints, Chambers’ policy and procedures on complaints and grievances will be referred to.
Confidentiality will be maintained at all times, save if waived by the persons concerned. This includes confidentiality in relation to record-keeping.
FOURTEEN’s Equality and Diversity Officer is responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of this policy. It is intended that this policy and its operation will be subject to regular review.
This policy was adopted on 16 July 2013 and updated in March 2017.
Please click here to see our Equality & Diversity data at FOURTEEN.
Definition of Harassment
- Harassment is any form of unwanted conduct relating to age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation which has the aim or effect of violating a person’s dignity, or which creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person (or, in some cases, a witness to the conduct).
- A second form of harassment is where a person engages in unwanted conduct of a sexual nature towards another person and the conduct has one or other of the above aims or effects.
- A third form of harassment occurs when a person engages in unwanted conduct of a sexual nature (or related to gender reassignment or sex) which has one or other of the above aims or effects and because the recipient rejected (or submitted) to that conduct treats the recipient less favourably than if they had not rejected or submitted to it.
- FOURTEEN is committed to providing a work environment in which all individuals, clients and the public are treated with dignity and respect. FOURTEEN is determined to promote a work environment in which everyone is treated equally and with dignity and can flourish.
- Harassment in any form will not be tolerated at FOURTEEN. Harassment includes any unwanted conduct related to sex, race, disability, gender re-assignment, religion or belief, sexual orientation or age. Such behaviour may take many forms including:
- Conduct which is unwanted by the recipient and perceived as hostile or threatening;
- Conduct which gives rise to a hostile or threatening work environment;
- Conduct which creates an atmosphere in which it is feared that rejection or submission will be used as a basis for decisions which have an impact on the recipient at work such as an allocation of work or tenancy decision.
- The following are examples of types of behaviour which may amount to harassment:
- Physical or sexual assault;
- Requests for sexual favours in return for career advancement;
- Unnecessary physical contact;
- Exclusion from social networks and activities or other forms of isolation;
- Compromising suggestions or invitations;
- Suggestive remarks or looks;
- Display of offensive materials, including on a computer screen;
- Tasteless jokes or verbal abuse, including any sent by email;
- Offensive remarks or ridicule;
- Dealing inappropriately or inadequately with complaints of harassment.
- Harassment is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010 (s.26). In addition to the above unwanted conduct, it can arise where a person engages in any kind of unwanted sexual behaviour (or gender reassignment or sex-related behaviour).
- Complaints of harassment may be raised informally in the first instance with Mr Robin Powell, Chambers’ Equality and Diversity Officer, who will agree an appropriate response. Formal complaints should be made under the FOURTEEN complaints/grievance procedure.
- Harassment is misconduct for employees or a breach of the Bar Code of Conduct for barristers. Allegations of harassment will be dealt with under the FOURTEEN disciplinary procedure.
- FOURTEEN is committed to ensuring that no-one who makes an allegation of harassment in good faith should be subjected to any detriment as a result. Any victimisation of a complainant, witness or anyone else involved in the investigation of a complaint will be viewed as a disciplinary matter.
- A copy of this policy is provided to all those for whom FOURTEEN constitutes a working environment, including members of chambers, pupils, squatters, clerks and other employees, temporary workers, those who provide services to chambers such as contract cleaners, accountants and IT consultants, and mini-pupils and work experience students.
This policy was adopted on 16 July 2013 and will be reviewed on 15 July 2014