Regulatory Information and Complaints
Black Antelope Law is regulated by the Bar Standards Board (“the BSB”) under Entity ID: 183640.
Regulation of our Lawyers
Barristers at Black Antelope Law are regulated by the Bar Standards Board. You can search the Barristers’ Register on the Bar Standards Board’s website: https://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/regulatory-requirements/the-barristers’-register/
This shows (1) whether a barrister has a current practising certificate, and (2) whether a barrister has any disciplinary findings, which are published on the Bar Standards Board’s website in accordance with their policy. Alternatively, you can contact the Bar Standards Board on 020 7611 1444 to ask about this (or e-mail [email protected])
Solicitors at Black Antelope Law are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. You can check a solicitors record on the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s website: https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/solicitor-check.page
This shows whether a solicitor has any individual regulatory decisions in the last three years. These do not cover any findings made by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT), which are published on the SDT’s website.
For the most complete, up-to-date information about an individual’s regulatory record—especially if you wish to rely on the information for formal purposes—please contact the Solicitors Regulation Authority on 0370 606 2555 or e-mail [email protected].
If you have a complaint about any of our people or our service, you can access our complaints procedure below.
Our complaints procedure sets out any right you may have to complain to the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) – the independent body which can help you if you have complained to your lawyer and are not happy with their response; how to complain to the LeO; and any time limits for making a complaint; and how to access the decision data on LeO’s website.
Black Antelope Law is committed to providing clear price and service information in line with the BSB price transparency guidelines.
We are registered for VAT under Registration Number 287 3315 82. We are, therefore, required to add VAT to our charges at the rate in force at the time (currently 20%) to fixed prices, estimates and fees. VAT may also be added to some disbursements.
Our organisation’s most commonly used pricing models for legal services:
Unless an alternative basis of charging is agreed with you, our professional fees exclusive of VAT are based on the time spent dealing with your matter. Our staff’s time spent progressing the matter is charged out at an hourly rate, which reflects their specialism/experience and overhead costs. Where applicable, our hourly rates to be applied are set out in our client care letter too. Ordinarily, our hourly rates are between £150 to £400. VAT will be added where applicable.
The hourly rates above are reviewed periodically but we reserve the right to alter rates at other times. We reserve the right to add an uplift to our hourly rates to take into account factors such as: complexity, value, importance to you (the client), the particular expertise of the fee earner and urgency. You will be notified of any changes to the rates. If you wish to cease instructing the firm as a result of any increase in rates, you are free to do so.
In assessing the time spent on this matter, the person with the responsibility for drafting the bill will take into account the following: the time spent in attendances; drafting routine letters/emails and documents, making and receiving telephone attendances/texts; perusal and consideration of documents; consideration of letters received, consideration of strategy; legal research, travelling; weighting; advocacy; file opening and compliance procedures; preparation; preparing attendance notes and providing copies of documents for you after completion of your matter.
We record time in six-minute units (and the time recorded is rounded up to the nearest whole unit) for all work undertaken on your behalf and this is then charged at the appropriate percentage of the relevant hourly rate. Both SMS messages and emails, sent and received, a charge or items of work and will be charged on the same basis as letters.
Although we aim to provide you with the best possible information about current costs incurred and likely overall cost to be incurred throughout your matter on a regular basis; an update on unbilled work in progress and incurred disbursements value is always available to you upon request.
Although hourly rates are our main basis of charging, we are flexible and may have agreed with you an alternative charge method in our client care letter to you. If you continue further below, we have highlighted the various funding methods that we offer and accept.
2. Our areas of practice and description of the organisation’s most commonly provided legal services:
You can find out about our practice areas and a description of exactly the services we provide by hovering over the “services” tab of our website's main menu and clicking on each service to find out more.
3. Information on the factors which might influence the timescales of the organisation's most commonly provided legal services:
When our lawyers are instructed to provide advisory work, unless otherwise agreed, we expect to return work within 14 days and we will aim to keep you informed if that changes for any reason, for example due to the client not providing timely and complete instructions; illness; or urgent court work on another matter.
When our lawyers are instructed to provide services regarding litigation, timescales will usually depend on similar factors mentioned with regard to advisory work, plus response times of the court; the opponent; and any other third parties directly involved in the litigation, such as expert witnesses for example.
4. Information on our complaints procedure, any right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman (LeO), how to complain to the LeO, and any time limits for making a complaint
You can read our Complaint’s Procedure down below under the heading "Complaints".
5. Link to the Barristers’ Register page on the BSB website:
Please see the link above under the heading "Regulation of our Lawyers".
6. Public Access Work
Where a barrister at the firm is approved to undertake direct public access work, members of the public can instruct them directly without the need for a solicitor (external or at the firm). You may find it helpful to read the Public Access Guidance for Lay Clients.
Our pricing model for public access services will ordinarily be based on an hourly rate for all advice, review and preparatory work, whereas fees for hearings and conferences will ordinarily be a fixed fee based on our best estimate of the time commitment that will be involved.
The fees for our direct access barristers ordinarily range from £250-£400 per hour before VAT depending on the seniority and/or experience of the specific barrister requested. Factors such as urgency, complexity and importance may mean that we charge an enhanced rate. This will be dependent on the facts of a client's particular circumstances, but quotes are available on request.
Black Antelope Law aims to give you a good professional 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 legal representatives in order to make your complaint, but you are free to do so should you wish.
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 inspects an anonymised record regularly with a view to improving services.
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 that the complainant should reasonably have known there were grounds for complaint (if the act/omission took place before the 6 October 2010 or was more than six years ago)
c) Within six months of the complaint receiving a final response from their lawyer, 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 was 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 them within six months).
The Ombudsman can extend the time limit in exceptional circumstances. The practice must therefore have regard to that timeframe when deciding whether they are able to investigate your complaint. The practice will not therefore usually deal with complaints that fall outside of the Legal Ombudsman's time limits.
Who Else Can You Complain To?
The Ombudsman will also only deal with complaints from consumers. This means that only complaints from the practice’s clients are within their jurisdiction. Non-clients who are not satisfied with the outcome of the practice's investigation should contact the Bar Standards Board rather than the Legal Ombudsman.
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 the practice 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, the practice will make an initial assessment of the complaint and if they feel that the issues raised cannot be satisfactorily resolved through the practice’s complaints process, they will refer you to the Bar Standards Board.
Complaints Made by Telephone
You may wish to make a complaint in writing and, if so, please follow the procedure set out below under “Complaints Made in Writing”. However, if you would rather speak on the telephone about your complaint then please ask for the Practice Manager. If the complaint is about the Practice Manager, please ask to speak to a member of the Complaints Panel.
The person you contact will make a note of the details of your complaint and what you would like to have done about it. S/he will discuss your concerns with you and aim to resolve them. If the matter is resolved s/he 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.
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
Please give the following details:
Your name and address;
The name of the person you are complaining about;
The detail of the complaint; and
What you would like done about it
Please address your letter to the Practice Manager, Black Antelope Law, 238 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8HB.
We will, where possible, acknowledge receipt of your complaint within two business days and provide you with details of how your complaint will be dealt with.
Our practice has a Complaints Panel headed by the Head of Legal Practice and made up of experienced members of staff which considers any written complaint. Within 21 days of your letter being received the Practice Manager or the head of the Panel or their deputy in their absence will appoint a member of the panel to investigate it. If your complaint is against either the Practice Manager or 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.
The person appointed to investigate will write to you as soon as possible to let you know they have been appointed and that they will reply to your complaint within 21 days. If they find later that they are not going to be able to reply within 21 days, they will set a new date for their reply and inform you. The reply will set out:
The nature and scope of his investigation;
Their conclusion on each complaint and the basis for any conclusion; and
If they find that you are justified in your complaint, their proposal for resolving the complaint.
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 anyone involved in the complaint and its investigation. The Bar Standards Board is entitled to inspect the documents and seek information about the complaint when discharging its auditing and monitoring functions.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
If you are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation, alternative complaints bodies (such as ProMediate: www.promediate.co.uk) exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and I wish to use such a scheme.
We agree to use the ProMediate scheme.
Complaints to the Legal Ombudsmen
Alternatively, 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 the practice has first investigated it. Please note the timeframe for referral of complaints to the Ombudsman is as set out at above under the heading “Time Limits”.
You can write to them at:
Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806,
Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ
Telephone number: 0300 555 0333
Email: [email protected]
You can access the Legal Ombudsman’s decision data on their website: https://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/ombudsman-decision-data/
Complaints to the Bar Standards Board
If you are not the practice’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 Complaints