Customer Care & Complaints
Customer Care & Complaints
How can I complain about the service that I am receiving?
You have the right to complain if the service you receive from us does not meet the standards set out in the Customer Services Standards in our Customer Charter. We are committed to the provision of a quality service in line with our Customer Charter. This charter is available on our website - www.legalaidboard.ieor you can ask for a copy from our Head Office or a Law Centre.
If we get something wrong, we will apologise and, where possible, we will try to put things right. We also aim to learn for our mistakes and use the information we gain to improve our service.
See also our Leaflet - Request for a change of solicitor/ barrister.
If you believe the service you are receiving does not meet out Customer Charter/Customer Service Standards, you have the right to complain. We believe it is best to deal with problems directly and as soon as possible. If you have a complaint, please raise it with the person you are dealing with and they will try and resolve with you there and then. However they may need time to deal with it.
Alternatively, you can make a complaint in writing to a Complaints Officer at:
Civil Operations, Legal Aid Board, 48-49 North Brunswick Street, Georges Lane, Dublin 7 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please be assured that making a complaint will not negatively impact on the service you are receiving from us.
What should you include in your complaint?
- Remember to state your name, address, telephone number, email address and case reference number.
- Describe what your complaint is about stating relevant times and dates.
- List your specific concerns starting with the most important concern
- State what you would like to happen (for example an apology, explanation, etc.)
- State your preferred method of communication, i.e. letter or email as all complaints are dealt with in writing.
The Complaints Officer will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 5 working days and decide the appropriate person to deal with your complaint. You will be notified who is handling your complaint.
The person who will investigate your complaint depends on who the complaint relates to:
If the complaint is in relation to a Law Centre staff member(but not the managing Solicitor of the law centre) or a barrister - the Managing Solicitor of the law centre will investigate.
If the complaint is in relation to the Managing Solicitor- the Regional Manager who has responsibility for the law centre will investigate.
If the complaint is in relation to a private solicitor providing services on our behalf a Manager in the Board's Decision Making and External Services function will investigate.
Please note that we can only accept a complaint regarding a private solicitor or barrister if it is in relation to civil legal aid work.
The person who is investigating your concerns will aim firstly to establish the facts. The extent of this investigation will depend on how complex and how serious the issues you have raised are. In complex cases, we draw up an investigation plan. We aim to resolve concerns as quickly as possible and expect to deal with the vast majority within 30 working days. Where the complaint is taking longer to respond to, you can expect to receive an update every 20 working days after that.
Our procedure for dealing with your complaint
The standard operating procedure in matters of this mature is that all communication should be in writing (letter or email), so as to ensure there is a clear record of the communication. We will deal with your complaint in an open and honest way.
Our procedure for the investigation of complaints incorporates fair procedures for all involved. In order for a full investigation into your complaint to take place, you should be aware that details of your complaint will be made available to the person about whom the complaint relates, for their comments on the matter. Similarly, you will be provided with a copy of their response and you can make observations of your own. It is in the interests of all concerned that complaints be dealt with a quickly as possible. Therefore, you will be required to furnish any observations you wish to make on this response within a period of 14 days of being furnished with the response. If your observations are not received within that period of 14 days then the consideration of your complaint will continue in the absence of any such observations from you. The Decision Maker will make a decision when they feel they are in receipt of all relevant information and you and the person you complained of will be notified of that decision.
Outcome of Complaints:
If a complaint is found to have merit then we will apologise, and where possible, we will try put things right. We will also aim to learn from our mistakes and use the information we gain to improve our service.
Internal Review of your complaint
You can seek a review of how the complaint was handled to a Review Officer. The review Officer can determine the appropriateness of the decision made in the original complaint investigation report and decide whether to:
- Upholds it in full
- Uphold it in part
- Not uphold it
- Vary it
- Make a new recommendation
Oversight of complaints process
Customer Liaison Officer:
The handling of complaints, in accordance with the Board's procedures, is subject to oversight by the Board's Customer Liaison Officer. The Customer Liaison Officer will conduct regular audits to ensure that complaints are being handled in accordance with this procedure and in a fair and transparent manner. In exceptional cases, where he/she finds that the complaint was not properly investigated, he/she may direct that the complaint be re-investigated.
Customer Liaison Officer,
Legal Aid Board, 48-49 North Brunswick Street, Georges Lane, Smithfield, Dublin 7
Are there any other remedies available to me?
The Officer of the Ombudsman is entitled in certain circumstances to investigate any actions taken by us in the performance of our administrative functions. The Office of the Ombudsman is not, however, entitled to investigate the provision of legal services by law centre solicitors or by private solicitors who are providing services on our behalf. If you have a complaint about legal services you are receiving from you solicitor, the Office of the Ombudsman has no role.
Contact details for the Office of the Ombudsman are as follows:
Office of the Ombudsman, 6 Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2, D02 W773
Tel: (01) 639 5600
If you are a child or a young person under 18, or an adult who knows a child you feel has been unfairly treated, or you are not satisfied with our decision on your complaint, it is open for your to contact the Ombudsman for Children's Office. By law the Ombudsman for Children's Office can investigate complaints about any of our administrative actions or procedures as well as delays or inaction in dealing with complaints. The ombudsman for Children provides an impartial, independent and fee complaints handling services. Contact details for the Ombudsman for Children's Office are as follows:
Ombudsman for Children's Office, 52-56 Great Strand Street, Dublin, D01 F5P8
Lo Call: 1800 20 20 40
What can I do if I wish to make a complaint about my Mediator or the service provided by the Mediation Office?
If you wish to make a complaint about the service provided by your Mediator or the Mediation Office, you should carry out the following steps:
- First make the complaint to the Mediator. They will aim to resolve the matter as quickly as possible and, if necessary, meet with you to discuss your concerns.
- If you are still dissatisfied, you should put the complaint in writing to the Director of Family Mediation, 48/49 Brunswick Street, Georges Lane, Dublin 7. A copy of this letter will be given to the person about whom the complaint is being made for their observations.
If the problem remains unresolved, or your complaint relates to a Regional Manager of Family mediation or the Director of Family Mediation, you should send the complaint directly to the Customer Liaison Officer,
Legal Aid Board, 48/49 North Brunswick Street, Georges Lane, Dublin 7
Email : email@example.com
Criminal Legal Aid
What if I have a complaint about the service provided to me by a solicitor or barrister under one of the Board's Criminal Legal Aid schemes ?
The Legal Aid Board has administrative responsibility for the following schemes:
- Garda Station Legal Advice Revised Scheme
- Legal Aid - Custody Issues Scheme
- Criminal Assets Bureau Ad-hoc Legal Aid Scheme
However, the Legal Aid Board does not have any direct involvement in the assigning of legal representation in criminal matters and has no jurisdiction to deal with complaints against solicitors or barristers. If you wish to complain in relation to the services provided to you by a solicitor or barrister, then you should write to the Complaints and Resolutions Unit, Legal Services Regulatory Authority, P.O. Box 12906, Dublin 7, Tel: 01-8592911, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Disability Act 2005
For complaints made under Section 38 of the Disability Act, 2005 the Legal Aid Board has designated the Customer Liaison Officer as an Inquiry Officer to investigate such complaints. Any individual can make a complaint to the Customer Liaison Officer if the Board has not complied with Section 25, 26, 27 or 28 of the Act. Complaints should be made in writing to the Customer Liaison Office at the address below:
Legal Aid Board 48/49 North Brunswick Street, Georges Lane, Dublin 7