Bar Council issues statement on new BSB customer feedback guide

28 June 2018

Responding to the Bar Standards Board's (BSB) new guide on customer feedback, a Bar Council spokesperson said: "Suggestions on techniques and approaches that barristers and chambers might adopt for eliciting constructive feedback from clients will no doubt be helpful. 

"The clear warning that the BSB is giving to clients at the same time about the usefulness and reliability of online feedback platforms will also be welcomed. 

"There are real dangers in the use of digital comparison tools for legal services, not least that client confidentiality and legal privilege will often prevent lawyers from engaging with them in a meaningful way, and that clients are often not well placed to judge the quality of the advice or representation they have received.  For those (such as barristers) who are involved in dispute resolution, there is an added concern in the tendency of some to equate quality with whether or not they have won their case.  Not only do these difficulties limit the usefulness of such platforms for building constructive dialogue between clients and their lawyers, but they risk distorting the market and giving rise to real unfairness and misinformation. 

"Instructing a member of the Bar, whether directly or through a solicitor, is not the same as buying a stereo or even a less complex service such as advice on a suitable financial product.  Today's barristers welcome the direct, constructive feedback from clients which this guidance encourages, but it is questionable whether it will allay the significant concerns about online comparison and feedback sites."