The Office of the Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Ombudsman (NIJAO) was first established in September 2006 under the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002 (as amended by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005). As of 1 April 2016 the Office operates under Section 58 and Schedule 6 of the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman Act 2016 (the 2016 Act).
The Office is completely independent of the Government and the judiciary.
The NIJAO may make recommendations to the Lord Chancellor and the Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission (NIJAC) about what steps should be taken in relation to a complaint which has been upheld.
The Ombudsman may also offer advice on changes to procedures that have come to her attention as a result of a complaint. She also has the power to recommend compensation be paid to successful complainants for loss suffered as a result of maladministration, but not in respect of any earnings that the complainant would have received had their application for appointment been successful.