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Thread: Query about the Legal Ombudsman and suing a barrister

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  1. #1
    Beattie's Avatar

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    Default Query about the Legal Ombudsman and suing a barrister

    Hi, this is my first post to Legal Beagles and I hope someone here can give me some advice.

    Last year, a barrister seriously misled me into taking a course of action that has been pretty disastrous for me. I complained to this barrister's chambers but got nowhere, so I recently made a formal complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. Shortly after sending in my complaint, however, I decided that a better course of action would be to sue this barrister.

    Here is the problem I need advising on. After making my complaint, I researched the Legal Ombudsman on the Internet, and just about every message on every forum I looked at suggests this organisation is biased in favour of the legal profession, and some people go as far as to say they think it's there mainly to protect lawyers. Now, I know that that you're far more likely to get posts from dissatisfied people than satisfied ones, but the negative opinions seem so widespread that this has me worried.

    The investigation into my complaint has not yet started - yesterday I got my first phone call from them, to say they were 'at the getting to know you stage'. What is worrying me is that if I allow the investigation to take place, and the Ombudsman rules that this barrister did no wrong, would this ruling be evidence for the other side if I took the matter to Court? If the Ombudsman did a 'whitewash job', that would be bad enough, but I would really be crushed if this stopped me having a fair hearing at Court.

    So, three questions: (1) Am I right to be worried that a biased ruling from the Ombudsman would damage my case if I later took civil action, (2) If I am right to be worried, should I write to the Ombudsman and tell them not to proceed with the investigations, as I have misgivings about their impartiality and (3) Would I be allowed to halt the Ombudsman's investigation like this?

    Any advice on this would be much appreciated.

  2. #2
    EXC's Avatar

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    Default Re: Query about the Legal Ombudsman and suing a barrister

    I think you can withdraw your complaint at any time. A decision won't be binding if you don't agree with it. I would advise against taking the barrister to court unless you either know what you're doing or have taken formal legal advice.

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  3. #3
    Beattie's Avatar

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    Default Re: Query about the Legal Ombudsman and suing a barrister

    Thanks. Of course, if I did sue this barrister, it would be through a specialist in this sort of action.

    As I say, though, I'm worried that if the Ombudsman's decision went against me, this would be ammunition for the other side.

  4. #4
    ploddertom's Avatar

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    Default Re: Query about the Legal Ombudsman and suing a barrister

    You may find you are going to need a serious amount of cash to do this.

  5. #5
    Peridot's Avatar

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    Default Re: Query about the Legal Ombudsman and suing a barrister

    Hi Beattie,
    First things first I'm not sure that you have raised your complaint to the correct regulatory body. Complaints about barristers are made to the Bar Standards Board not the Legal Ombudsman (that's for solicitors and law firms) Here is their website:- https://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk...ional-conduct/
    Here's the link to the information on how to complain:- https://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk..._complaint.pdf

    Afraid I have no experience of Bar complaints but do have experience with the Legal Ombudsman (not against myself I hasten to add!) and I can't say I have found a bias toward law firms. As you mention above unfortunately you often only get to hear the moans and accusations from those who have been unsuccessful in their complaint. Many law firm complaints are dealt with to everyone's satisfaction without the need to go to the Legal Ombudsman.

    Hopefully the Bar Standards Board will deal appropriately with your complaint as soon as it is received.
    I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

    Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

    If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

  6. #6
    Peridot's Avatar

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    Default Re: Query about the Legal Ombudsman and suing a barrister

    Hi again,
    If the Bar standards counsel investigated the matter and found no wrong doing or negligence on the part of the barrister, you would struggle to be successful in any civil action you took against the Barrister, I assume alleging professional negligence.
    You would need a lot of evidence about what you discussed when you took advice from the barrister and what options you were provided with etc.
    I would say that I anticipate that any claim would be frowned upon by the Court, if you had not followed the usual complaints procedure first.
    It may be worth seeing a solicitor for a free half hour that specialises in professional negligence claims just to see if they think you have a claim and who can also give you an indication of the likelihood of succeeding and the likely costs.
    Hope this helps.
    I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

    Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

    If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

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