What we can investigate

The Ombudsman can investigate complaints from applicants for judicial office about the way in which their application was handled.

Types of investigation

The Ombudsman may investigate complaints against the Commission (or any other party involved in handling of the initial complaint) alleging issues such as:

  • provision of inaccurate or misleading information;
  • prejudice against a complainant;
  • failure to recognise the seriousness of a complaint;
  • failure to respond in a reasonable timescale; and
  • not responding to a complaint in accordance with laid down procedures.

The Ombudsman will not investigate complaints from:

  • anyone other than candidates for judicial office;
  • candidates in relation to anything other than the competition for which they were a candidate; and
  • candidates who do not claim to have been adversely affected.

The Ombudsman may decline to take up a judicial appointment complaint if the complainant has not already complained to the Commission or Lord Chancellor, as appropriate.

The Ombudsman does not have to take up a complaint made more that twenty eight days after the complainant has been notified of the Commission or Lord Chancellor’s decision on the matter complained of, but may do so at any time if he considers it appropriate.

The Ombudsman will not investigate complaints relating to judicial conduct as these continue to be dealt with by the Lord Chief Justice for Northern Ireland.