Complaints against professionals

I want to make a complaint about the police. What should I do?

If you have a complaint about the conduct of a police officer, you should contact the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland. It is their job to investigate complaints against the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, the Belfast Harbour Police, the Larne Harbour Police, the Belfast International Airport Police and Ministry of Defence Police in Northern Ireland.

Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland

New Cathedral Buildings,

St Anne’s Square, 11 Church Street, BELFAST BT1 1PG

Phone: 0845 601 2931

Minicom: 028 9082 8756

Email: info@policeombudsman.org

I want to make a complaint against my solicitor. What should I do?

If you have a complaint about your solicitor, you must first write to the senior partner of the firm concerned or the solicitor concerned giving reasons for your complaint. If you receive an unsatisfactory response, the next step is to write to the Law Society for Northern Ireland.

The Law Society is the governing body for solicitors here. They ensure solicitors maintain certain standards and professionalism when dealing with clients and other solicitors.

To make a complaint against a solicitor, write to:

Law Society of Northern Ireland

96 Victoria Street

Belfast

BT1 3GN

I want to make a complaint against my barrister, what should I do?

If you wish to make a complaint against a particular barrister, you must lodge it in writing to the Bar Council. The Bar Council acts as the regulating body for barristers. It is responsible for maintaining standards, honour and independence of the Bar. Barristers who do not meet the standards are subject to discipline.

Your complaint must identify the barrister and any solicitor involved. It should detail the grounds on which you wish to complain, identify any witnesses who can support the complaint, and include relevant documents.

To make a complaint against a barrister, write to:

Secretary to the Professional Conduct Committee

Bar Library

91 Chichester Street

Belfast

BT1 3JQ

I want to make a complaint against my doctor or other medical professional. What should I do?

The Health & Personal Social Services (HPSS) operate a complaints procedure for any aspect of HPSS treatment. You must be a patient or a former patient of the practitioner or institution concerned to make a complaint. You can complain on behalf of someone else, but the hospital or practice must agree that you are a suitable representative beforehand.

Financial compensation will not be available using this procedure. You should take separate legal action if you seek financial compensation.

The first stage is to ask for a copy of the complaints procedure of the practice, hospital or trust concerned. An independent conciliator or mediator may be brought in to help resolve the complaint. Most complaints are resolved at this stage.

The second stage is to have an independent review if the complaint is not resolved through local resolution.

If you are not happy with the outcome of the internal review you may refer the matter to the Ombudsman or seek a judicial review. Judicial review is a procedure which enables a court to review decisions made by public bodies.

If you wish to take legal action, you should consult a solicitor. This can take a long time and be expensive.

Contact the Health and Social Services Council , or the Citizen Advice Bureau for advice on making a complaint against a medical professional.