Complaints Procedure | Northern Ireland Law Commission
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Complaints Procedure

Making a complaint about the Northern Ireland Law Commission

This procedure explains how you can make a complaint if you are dissatisfied with any aspect of your contact with or experience of the Northern Ireland Law Commission (the Commission). This procedure does not cover complaints relating to recruitment or procurement activities which have their own separate procedures.

We see complaints as learning opportunities and we will approach them with this principle in mind. We aim to treat all complaints seriously, deal with them efficiently, and resolve promptly and informally whenever possible.

What is a complaint?
A complaint is any oral or written expression of dissatisfaction by any person, however made, about the service, actions or inactions of the Commission or its officers which requires a response.


The Commission is established under the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002 (as amended by the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (Devolution of Policing and Justice Functions) Order 2010).  The purpose of the Commission is to keep the law of Northern Ireland under review and make recommendations for its systematic development and reform.


The 2002 Act as amended requires the Commission to consider any proposals for the reform of the law of Northern Ireland referred to it.  The Commission must also submit to government programmes for the examination of different branches of the law with a view to reform.  Before it was amended, the 2002 Act made provision that the Secretary of State must consult with the Lord Chancellor, the First Minister and deputy First Minister and the Attorney General before approving any programme submitted by the Commission.  These arrangements are changed so that the Commission will in future submit programmes of work to the Minister for the Department of Justice.  The Minister will be required to consult with the Attorney General but there will be no longer be a requirement to consult with the Lord Chancellor or the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.

The Department of Justice must, however, consult with the Secretary of State before approving any programme prepared by the Commission which includes examination of any branch of law relating in whole or in part to a reserved or excepted matter or the consolidation or repeal of any legislation which relates in whole or in part to a reserved or excepted matter.  In taking forward its work the Commission recognises a fundamental premise of a modern system of justice and legal system for Northern Ireland: that everyone has rights and duties under the law.  The Commission - alongside other bodies responsible for developing aspects of the law - will use its resources to respect, safeguard and promote those rights and duties.  Our aim is to provide for Northern Ireland an effective means of simplifying and modernising the law and making it accessible to its people.  The Commission will conduct its work with honesty and impartiality.  It will be open about its practices and procedures.  It will treat its own staff and those with whom it deals courteously, fairly and without discrimination.  We welcome and will be responsive to any complaints or other feedback from our customers and stakeholders.

Complaints Procedure

If you wish to make a complaint you may find it helpful to take the following steps:

Informal procedure

If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of the Commission, initially you should address your complaint directly and informally with an appropriate member of Commission staff and explain your complaint - Tel: 028 9054 4860. They will try to resolve your complaint immediately and address your concerns in an informal manner if possible.

Formal procedure - Stage one:

Should it not be possible to resolve your complaint quickly and informally, the member of staff contacted will ask if you wish to submit a formal complaint by letter or email, and if the answer is yes, will direct you to explain your complaint in writing, stating clearly the outcome that you are seeking and forward this to:

The Complaints Officer
Northern Ireland Law Commission
Linum Chambers, 8th Floor
2 Bedford Square
Bedford Street
Belfast,  BT2 7ES

What you can expect at First Stage:

  • We will acknowledge in writing, any complaint within 7 working days of receiving it.

  • On receipt of a formal complaint we will attempt to resolve it as soon as we can and in any case within 15 working days of receiving it.

  • If we have been unable to resolve your complaint within 15 working days of receipt of it we will write to you and keep you informed of its progress.

Stage two:

If you are dissatisfied with the response to your complaint at stage one, you may contact the Commission’s Chief Executive at the same address, telephone number, and e-mail address shown above. The Chief Executive will conduct an investigation into your complaint and will contact you to inform you of the outcome of the investigation.

What you can expect at Stage Two:

  • We will acknowledge in writing, your complaint to the Chief Executive within 7 working days of receiving it.

  • The Chief Executive will personally carry out an investigation into your complaint.

  • The Chief Executive will contact you to inform you of the result of the investigation within 20 working days of receipt of your complaint.

Stage three:

If you still feel that your complaint has not been resolved to your satisfaction, you may contact the Northern Ireland Ombudsman:

By phone:  0800 34 34 24 (this is a Freephone number) or 028 9023 3821
By fax:  028 9023 4912
By e-mail:
By writing to:  The Ombudsman, Freepost BEL 1478, Belfast BT1 6BR
By calling, between 9:30 am and 4 pm, at:
The Ombudsman's Office, Progressive House, 33 Wellington Place, Belfast.