The Northern Ireland Court Service

Quarterly Review of the Complaints Process for the Northern Ireland Court Service July 2005 – September 2005

Complaints statistics

Introduction

The Purpose of this report is to provide information on the complaints received throughout the Court Service for the period July - September 2005.

Throughout the Court Service there was a total of 38 complaints received during the period July – September 2005.

Breakdown by location of the number of complaints received in the Northern Ireland court service during the period july 2005 - Sep 2005

Breakdown of how complaints were received

 

Courthouses

In the three-month period from July – September 2005 there were a total of 32 complaints received at 11 courthouses throughout the Court Service.  The remaining 10 courthouses recorded no complaints within this time period. Of the 32 complaints, 10 related to complaints about an organisation other than the Court Service.  Annex A

84% of complaints were answered within the 15-day timescale.

The three most frequently used methods of making a complaint were by putting it in writing (25%), making a complaint in person  (25%) and filling out a complaint form in the Courthouse (25%).

Breakdown of How Complaints were Received In the Northern Ireland Court Service

The court office that received the most complaints during the period was Laganside Courts, which received 8 complaints in total, followed by Newtownards and Ballymena court offices with a total of 5 complaints then Dungannon which received 3 complaints during the period July - September 2005.

 

Breakdown of complaints by category

The area that received the most complaints was regarding accommodation, 8 complaints in total were received in this category.  These were broken down as follows: 3 relating to Ballymena court office, 2 relating to Dungannon and one relating to Antrim, Laganside and Newtownards court offices.
(Annex B).

There were 2 complaints received in this quarter relating to each of the following categories: Catering (Ballymena 1 & Coleraine 1), Court Service Staff (Bangor 1 & Downpatrick 1), Judicial Decision (Downpatrick 1 & Belfast 1) and Maybin Staff (Laganside 2).

4 complaints received were regarding delays.  The complaints ranged from Small Claims processes and the length of time taken to process a claim to lengthy delays for Solicitors visiting Laganside Courts to submit Legal Aid Applications.   There were 2 complaints received in Newtownards relating to the delay in cases being brought before the Court. There were also four complaints received in this period, which related to Other Organisations, for example, 3 referring to the PSNI and 1 complaint against DVLNI and traffic wardens.

From the 32 complaints received, 4 fell into the ‘Other’ Category.  These ranged from court opening hours, flying of flags, Court policy regarding sign interpreters to someone’s wife contravening a court order.

 

Central Complaints

During the period July - September there were 4 complaints received centrally in the Information Centre: 50% of these were answered within the target time of 15 working days. 

1 of the complaints was received via the email system and the other 3 complaints were received in the form of a letter.

1 of the complaints referred to another organisation’, 1 relating to an administrative error, 1 referring to accommodation and last one fell into the ‘other’ category -  it was regarding application numbering and priority status in the E.J.O.

 

Court Funds Office

1 complaint was received in the Court Funds Office during the period July – September 2005 which concerned the Poor Performance of Funds in comparison with interest rates with the Halifax.  This complaint was made in writing and was answered within the 15 day timescale.

 

Enforcement of Judgments Office

The Enforcement of Judgments Office received 1 complaint during the period    July – September 2005.   It related to the delay or failure to reply to previous letters or case direction. This complaint was made in writing and was answered within the 15 day timescale.

 

Annex A

Number of complaints Received by Courthouse:

The following courthouses provided “Nil” returns:

Armagh
Banbridge
Enniskillen
Larne
Limavady
Londonderry
Magherafelt
Newry
RCJ
Strabane

 

Complaints received at courthouses about organisations other than the Court Service

Maybin Staff:

Judicial Decision:

Catering:

Another Organisation:

 

Annex B

Category of Complaints Received in the Northern Ireland Court Service during the period July 2005-Sep 2005