Complaint Handling Policy
The Legal Aid Certifying Officers are committed to providing a high-quality service administering Legal Aid. When something goes wrong, we would like you to tell us about it. This will help those who administer Legal Aid and the Legal Aid Committee ('LAC') to improve standards and service delivery.
Please note that this policy is not applicable in relation to any decision for which there is a legislative right of appeal to the Legal Aid Appeals Tribunal. In those circumstances you should send notice of your appeal to The Clerk to the Legal Aid Appeal Tribunal, Isle of Man Courts of Justice, Deemsters’ Walk, Bucks Road, Douglas, IM1 3AR. http://www.gov.im/registries/tribunals
This policy is also not applicable in relation to decisions made by the Legal Aid Office in relation to financial eligibility for civil legal aid. Please refer to the separate webpage and guidance document entitled 'A General Guide to Civil Legal Aid' for further information on how to seek a review of such decisions.
Making a complaint
If you have a complaint, please provide the details in writing (either by post or in electronic format) to:
The Legal Aid Certifying Officer, Isle of Man Courts of Justice, Deemsters Walk, Bucks Road, Douglas, IM1 3AR. or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- You should provide copies of any supporting documents. You should keep copies of any documents, letter or e-mail you send.
- You will receive a letter or e-mail acknowledging your complaint within 7 days of its receipt, a copy of this policy will be enclosed.
- If the complaint is about a Certifying Officer personally, the officer complained about will review it initially to try and resolve it with you. This will normally involve reviewing your file, taking into account the facts set out in your complaint and any supporting documents you submit.
- You will receive a response within 10 days setting out the details of the review and any proposals to resolve your complaint. If these are acceptable to you, that will end the matter. If you are dissatisfied with the response, you will have 10 days to request a meeting.
- If you request a meeting, you will be invited to meet with the Certifying Officer to discuss, and hopefully, resolve, your complaint. You will be sent an invitation within 7 days of receiving your request; any subsequent meeting will take place within 10 days.
- Within 7 days of the meeting, you will receive correspondence confirming what took place and what solutions, if any, were agreed with you. You will be advised of any right of appeal for external review by the LAC.
- If it is not possible to hold a meeting, you may request in writing that the initial response is reconsidered, setting out any additional grounds together with your reasons for not accepting the response and its proposals. Within 14 days of receipt of your request for reconsideration, you will be sent a detailed written reply to your complaint, including any further views and proposals or suggestions for resolving the matter. You will be advised of any right of appeal for external review by the LAC.
- You will be informed if any of the above timescales cannot be met along with the reasons why. Equally, if you need longer to comply with any of the above timescales, please let us know.
If you are not satisfied with the internal review and its outcome, then after, and only after, it has been exhausted you may seek an external review by the LAC. This right should be exercised within 28 days of the final notification of the outcome of the review of your complaint
In such circumstances you should submit your request in writing and address it to:
- The Secretary, Legal Aid Committee, Deemsters’ Walk, Bucks Road, Douglas.
- Your complaint should set out what your complaint is and why you are dissatisfied with the proposed resolution. Again you should provide copies of any supporting documents. You should keep copies of any document, letter or e-mail you send.
- The Secretary will forward your complaint to the Chairman or Vice Chairman of the LAC within 14 days and will acknowledge receipt of your complaint.
- The Chairman, or Vice Chairman, as appropriate, will ask two other members of the LAC, and, if appropriate, an external support officer, to join with them on a sub-committee in reviewing your complaint and its handling by the Certifying Officer. The sub-committee will meet within 14 days.
- Ordinarily the review will be conducted wholly on the papers submitted. In exceptional circumstances the sub-committee may ask you for written clarification or to meet with you or the Certifying Officer about whom you have complained. In those circumstances you will be advised and a timetable set.
- At the end of the review by the sub-committee their findings and any recommendations will be put in front of the LAC in the form of a written report for ratification at its next sitting. You will be provided with a copy of that report and given the opportunity to put in a short submission to the LAC, if you disagree with the findings or recommendations.
- The decision of the LAC shall be final. You will be notified of its decision within 7 days. No appeal shall lie from that decision and no correspondence will be entered into by the LAC with you other than notification of the outcome.
A PDF of the above Policy is downloadable should you wish to save or print a copy.