About Rowchester Chambers
Chambers was founded in 1977 when it was originally known as Gazette Chambers but moved in 1987 to its present address in Rowchester Court and then became Rowchester Chambers.
Some of the original founding members still practice from Rowchester Chambers and have over a number of years bought together a group of experienced barristers committed to providing a consistently high quality of service to Instructing Solicitors. Chambers has always been noted for its Criminal Defence and Prosecution work but there is also a long standing expertise in Environmental Law, Public Law, Judicial Review, Actions Against the Police, Civil Liberties, Human Rights, Public and Private Family Law and is considered to be a leading Immigration set outside of London.
Chambers occupies a modern building with wheel chair access and has an efficient and fully computerised clerking team. All members of Chambers provide a case note on the hearings they attend and will in some circumstances when time is of the essence telephone instructing solicitors. Chambers aims to give immediate oral advice to Solicitors (if Counsel is available or otherwise by return) and have a competitive rate of fees.
Members of Chambers pride themselves on a comprehensive understanding and knowledge of all aspects of their specialist fields of law and procedure and are made up of different cultures and can therefore more readily appreciate the cultural factors which may lie behind any given behaviour. We also have a great advantage in communicating with lay clients and their families from different cultures as we offer Barristers who are fluent in Punjabi, Urdu, Hindi, Mirpuri, and basic French and Welsh.
We also endeavour to ensure that Counsel instructed, wherever possible, conducts the case. If there is or maybe any problem with availability we undertake to keep solicitors fully informed of the position at all stages.
Rowchester Chambers is located within a short walk of the major Birmingham court centres. Disabled Conference facilities are available within chambers but members of Chambers are equally happy to hold conferences at your offices, whichever is more convenient to you.
The majority of Members of Chambers are qualified to undertake Direct Access work from Members of the Public ("Public Access") without the intervention of a Solicitor.
An explanation of the Public Access Scheme can be found together with a Directory of participating barristers on the Bar Council website at http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/about/publicaccess/
The way the scheme is operated at Rowchester Chambers is as follows:-
Initial contact will be with a member of the Clerking Team who, although not qualified to give advice, will be able to take details of your enquiry and refer it to the Barrister for consideration.
If the Barrister thinks he can assist you will be asked to submit in writing details of the problem and the question you would like to have answered, together with copies of all necessary papers. (Note: the first question will be "do i have a case against x for y" or "what are my prospects of success" or "can you represent me at a hearing before a tribunal" etc).
The barrister will consider the papers and if he is unable to help will say so and return the papers promptly without charge. (This may be because the question raised is outside his/her normal field of expertise, or that he/she is simply to busy with other matters to devote the time needed to deal with your enquiry in a reasonable time).
If the barrister can help he/she will write to you setting out the terms upon which your instructions will be dealt with and he/she will set out amongst other things:-
1: What his/her professional rules permit him/her to do and what he cannot do on your behalf.
2: The number of hours he thinks will be necessary to prepare your case.
3: His/Her hourly rate of charge (to which will be added VAT at the current rate) - It is regretted that Legal Aid is not available for this type of work.
4: The timescale in which he/she will be able to complete your work.
If you accept the terms for carrying out the work offered by the Barrister you will be asked to send a cheque in respect of his/her fees plus VAT and when cleared the work will be carried out. The above process will be repeated for any further items of work on the same case.
What should I do if I have a complaint against my Barrister?
Complaints about the outcome of any particular case will generally not form the basis for a complaint. Your barrister will be able to advise you as to whether there may be grounds to appeal a particular decision.
If however, you have a complaint about the conduct of your barrister or the way in which they conducted your case, please put your complaint in writing to the individual barrister concerned. A barrister is required to deal with all complaints courteously, promptly and in a manner that addresses the issues raised by the complaint. If you feel that writing to the individual would be inappropriate given the nature of the complaint, then please address your complaint to:
Head of Chambers, Rowchester Chambers, 4 Whittall Street, Birmingham, B4 6DH
The nature and speed of any response will depend upon the precise circumstances. For example, if your complaint is that the barrister has been negligent, he or she is required to inform his or her insurers and those insurers may need to be consulted about the response.
If you are not satisfied with the way in which Chambers considered your complaint, you may contact the Legal Services Ombudsman to investigate how it was handled. The Ombudsman is not a lawyer. If the Ombudsman thinks that the complaint was not investigated properly, he can recommend that the complaint be reconsidered or that the barrister pay compensation. The Ombudsman’s address is:
The Legal Services Ombudsman, 3rd Floor, Sunlight House, Quay Street, Manchester M3 3JZ.
If you are unhappy with the response or not satisfied with the way in which your complaint was considered by The Legal Services Ombudsman then you may contact The Bar Standards Board (BSB), the regulator for barristers. They investigate complaints against barristers and take action against those who break the rules of the code of conduct. They do this in the interests of the public and to maintain the good name and standards of the profession. There is no charge for making a complaint to them. The Bar Standards Board can be contacted at:
Complaints and Investigations Department, Bar Standards Board, 289-293 High Holborn, London WC1V 7HZ.