Performance Policies

Client care is of paramount importance to Trinity Chambers.

Our stated aspiration is: " To be known as the leading set in the North-East as a result of achieving clients' and Chambers' satisfaction through the delivery of an excellent service."

We operate to the following policy undertakings:

Legal Services

  • The excellence of legal services is upheld through the mutual support of fellow practitioners in each practice group.
  • Practitioners may join practice groups, which are based on specific areas of law, once the group has deemed the applicant to be sufficiently trained and competent to uphold the standards of legal practice required by the group.
  • If an instruction has to be allocated to an alternative barrister, clients can be assured that the clerks will only put forward a barrister of the same practice group, if available, and so ensure that high standards of legal support are maintained.
  • Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) cases can be accepted certain barristers of Trinity Chambers in accordance with the Bar Council's practice procedures.
  • Trinity Chambers´ comprehensive law library, both in paper and electronic form, ensures that barristers have access to the legal information, including law reports dating back to 1785 (in paper form only!).
  • Practice groups regularly provide seminars, both open and in-house, to clients whose details are held on our database. These seminars are accredited by the Law Society for CPD.
  • Conferences can be arranged to suit the client and lay client by being held either in Chambers or at the client´s office.

General Services

  • Trinity Chambers´ opening hours are from 0830 am to 6 pm Mondays to Thursdays, and to 5.30 pm on Fridays, less Bank Holidays.
  • Out of hours emergency contact can be made by telephoning 0191 245 0170.
  • By optimising secure technology, clients can leave messages for a barrister by using that barrister's individual email address (as shown on their profiles), or by leaving a telephone message which will be transferred to the barrister's mobile telephone.
  • Through the use of a bulk fax feeder, Chambers is able to receive lengthy documents rapidly when time frames are tight. Hard copy through the DX or post should be sent as normal.
  • All barristers and clerks are registered for Data Protection by the Commissioner.

Response Times

  • Written instructions and briefs will be acknowledged in writing as having been passed to the agreed barrister within one working day of receipt.
  • Written instructions will be acted upon, and responded to, within 14 days unless an alternative time frame has been requested and agreed.
  • Urgent work will be completed to meet an agreed time scale.
  • Messages (telephone, faxes and e-mails) will be made available to barristers within one working hour of receipt.
  • Barristers will return calls to clients as soon as possible.
  • Clients will be kept informed of any significant changes, conflicts or other developments, and of any delays, promptly.

Clerking

  • Only those barristers who have the appropriate seniority and expertise will be put forward by the clerks.
  • Clients will be informed as soon as possible of any potential difficulty that may result in a barrister not being available to attend a hearing.
  • All information received by the clerks will be regarded as being confidential in line with Chambers' procedures. Clients are requested to instruct the clerks should any special safeguards be required. Secure storage of particularly sensitive material is available with enhanced security facilities available through the clerks.

Equality and Diversity

Trinity Chambers deals with its Members, employees, pupils, lay and professional clients, and applications for pupillage, tenancy or any other position and all others who have dealings with Chambers without distinction by reference to sex, race (including colour, ethnic or national origin and nationality), citizenship, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital status/civil partnership, family status, religion or belief, or philosophical belief. Age and disability are also disregarded save in those limited circumstances in which they are genuinely material to a person’s ability to become a Member, pupil or employee of Chambers and can be justified. Chambers does not permit or condone harassment on the grounds of sex, race (including colour, ethnic or national origin and nationality), citizenship, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital status/civil partnership, family status, religion or belief, philosophical belief, age or disability.

Trinity Chambers takes into account the Equality and Diversity Code for the Bar.

Further details regarding Trinity Chambers’ Equality and Diversity Policy can be obtained by contacting Chambers' Director, Tim Harris.

Trinity Chambers is committed to the Bar’s principles of equality and diversity in everything we do. It is our policy to treat everyone equally and fairly regardless of their background, race, disability, religion or belief, gender, gender reassignment, age, marital or civil partnership status or sexual orientation.

Trinity Chambers conducts a survey annually in accordance with the Bar Standards Board Code of Conduct, in order to monitor equality and diversity within Chambers and to collect and publish equality and diversity data.

The survey is conducted anonymously and participation is voluntary, as required by the BSB rules. Total numbers may differ from category to category because respondents are of course entitled to decline to answer any specific question.

The data representing the position in 2018 can be found here.  Some data for small groups, such as QCs, have been withheld because publication would allow identification of protected characteristics.  The withholding of such data is in accordance with the Guidance on the Bar Standard Board’s Diversity Data Collection Rules, available on the Bar Standards Board Website.

 

Fees and Billing

  • Brief fees and charge out rates in privately funded court cases will be agreed in advance.
  • Fee rates are available on request.
  • Clerks will advise in appropriate cases where the fee rates need to be varied depending upon the complexity of the case after consultation with counsel.
  • Fee notes will be rendered within seven days of the completion of the work, unless otherwise agreed.

Our fees in privately funded cases fall due to be paid within one month of the fee note, unless otherwise agreed.

In relation to criminal fees Trinity Chambers adopts the Bar Council's Graduated Fee Payment Protocol.

The Bar Council has implemented various changes in relation to the payment of barristers' fees. The barristers at Trinity will be working under the new standard contractual terms as from the date of implementation on 31st January 2013. The Bar Council have withdrawn the usual default terms under which barristers have traditionally operated, including the "Withdrawal of Credit Scheme". Accordingly, from that date all barristers' services will now be offered under the Standard Conditions of Contract. Whilst there are changes in the contractual terms upon which the barristers accept instructions, the barristers and staff do not envisage that they will affect the day to day working relationships with Chambers’ clients.

If you have any questions or concerns relating to these arrangements, please do not hesitate to contact Trinity Chambers’ Director, Tim Harris.

Complaints

1. The aim of the barristers and staff of Trinity Chambers is to provide all of our clients with the highest level of 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, also has a 6 year time limit from the date of the act or omission or 3 years from when the complainant should have reasonably known that there were grounds for a complaint. We must therefore have regard to that time frame when deciding whether we are able to investigate complaints.  

3. 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 the Chambers' investigation should contact the Bar Standards Board rather than the Legal Ombudsman.

4. It should be noted that it may not always be possible to investigate a complaint brought by a non-client. This is because the ability of Chambers to satisfactorily investigate and resolve such matters is limited and complaints of this nature are often better suited to the disciplinary processes maintained by the Bar Standards Board. Therefore, Chambers will make an initial assessment of the complaint and if they feel that the issues raised cannot be satisfactorily resolved through the Chambers complaints process they will refer you to the Bar Standards Board.

Complaints made by telephone 

5. 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 Chambers' Director. If the complaint is about the Chambers' Director you should telephone the Chair of the Complaints Panel, Miss Katherine Wood. The person you contact will make a note of the details of your complaint and what you would like done about it. She will discuss your concerns with you and aim to resolve them. If the matter is resolved she 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.

6. 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 

7. Please give the following details: 
 
• Your name and address; 

• Which member(s) of Chambers you are complaining about; 

• The detail of the complaint; and 

• What you would like done about it. 

Please address your letter to Mr Tim Harris, Chambers' Director. 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.

8. Our Chambers has a panel headed by Miss Katherine Wood 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 her deputy in 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. 

9. The person appointed to investigate will write to you as soon as possible to let you know he/she has been appointed and that he/she will reply to your complaint within 14 days. If he/she finds later that he/she is not going to be able to reply within 14 days he/she 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 he/she finds that you are justified in your complaint, his/her proposals for resolving the complaint. 

Confidentiality 

10. 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 member or 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. 

Our Policy 

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. 

Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman 

12. If you are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation and you fall within their jurisdiction you may take up your complaint with the Legal Ombudsman, the independent complaints body for complaints about lawyers, at the conclusion of our consideration of your complaint. The Ombudsman is not able to consider your complaint until it has first been investigated by Chambers. Please note that the Legal Ombudsman has a twelve-month time limit from the date of the act or omission about which you are complaining within which to make your complaint. You can write to them at: 

Legal Ombudsman 

PO Box 6806, 

Wolverhampton 

WV1 9WJ

Telephone number: 0300 555 0333 

Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk 

13. If you are not the barrister's client and are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation then please contact the Bar Standards Board at:

Bar Standards Board 

Professional Conduct Department 

289-293 High Holborn 

London 

WC1V 7JZ

Telephone number: 0207 6111 444

Website : www.barstandardsboard.org.uk