Making a complaint about someone who holds a judicial office

If you want to make a complaint about someone who holds a judicial office, for example a judge, coroner or magistrate, you can do this through the Office of the Lord Chief Justice for Northern Ireland.

Role of the Lord Chief Justice

The Office of the Lord Chief Justice deals with complaints about judicial office holders’ personal conduct. Examples of misconduct would include the use of insulting, racist or sexist language. View the code of practice for investigating complaints.

The Office of the Lord Chief Justice does not deal with complaints about judicial decisions. The usual way to challenge that type of decision is to appeal it or to seek a judicial review.

If you are unsure about whether your complaint relates to personal misconduct or to a judicial decision, you can contact the complaints officer in the Office of the Lord Chief Justice for advice.

Making a complaint

You will need the following information to make your complaint:

  • your name, address and telephone number
  • the name of the judge, magistrate, tribunal member or coroner
  • the name of the court or tribunal hearing centre
  • the number of the case
  • the date of the hearing
  • specific details about the reasons for your complaint

You should include as much detail as possible about your complaint, together with a note of any supporting evidence.

You can send your complaint in writing, by post or email, or by phoning the Office of the Lord Chief Justice.

You should make your complaint as soon as possible after the incident. If your case or your appeal is still going on, the Office of the Lord Chief Justice will not be able to consider the complaint until the case is closed. However, you should still let them know about your complaint as soon as you can.

What happens next

When the Office of the Lord Chief Justice first receives your complaint, you will get an acknowledgement. If your complaint is not about conduct you will be told about other offices which might be able to help you.

When the complaints officer receives your complaint and is satisfied it is about conduct, you will be sent an acknowledgement letter. The complaints officer will then consider the issues you have raised and also the quality of evidence you have given.

The Office of the Lord Chief Justice aims to deal with your complaint and provide you with a full response, as soon as possible. However, if a judicial investigation is needed, the process may take several months. You will be kept informed of progress at all stages.

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