The Northern Ireland Court Service

Summary and Review of the Complaints Process for the Northern Ireland Court Service January 2004 – December 2004

Complaints statistics

The Purpose of this report is to provide information on the complaints received throughout the Court Service during 2004.
An individual can either make a complaint directly to the courthouse or make the complaint centrally. 
The Court Service received a total of 234 complaints, 206 of these complaints were received at courthouses and 28 were received centrally.

 

Complaints received at Courthouses

How Complaints were received

Breakdown of complaints by category

A full breakdown can be seen below. Complaints regarding Delays received a total of 18 complaints ranging from length of time taken to process default decrees to a jury panel member having to reschedule appointments 3 times due to a High Court Judge case.

 The issue of Administrative Error resulted in a total of 46 complaints being received.

The Category of other received a total of 28 complaints, this included complaints regarding jury claims, wording on jury notice, loss of earnings of members of the jury, small claims enforcement and procedures and not being able to pay fixed penalty fine by visa/ switch card.

Central Complaints

During the period January to December 2004 there were 28 complaints received centrally in the Information Centre.  There were 8 complaints that were not dealt with within the 15-day timescale.  5 out of the 8 complaints that were delayed, were delayed as a result of a hold up in the response being returned from Heads of Division.

The breakdown of complaints received was as follows

Website

Processes

Information

Facilities

Court Service Staff

Maybin Staff

Other

 

Other Public Offices within the Court Service

During this year no central monitoring took place of complaints received in the Enforcement of Judgments Office (EJO) or Court Funds Office (CFO).

From March to December 2004 the EJO received 12 complaints.
From March to December 2004 the Court Funds Office received 23 complaints.

All of these complaints were dealt with, within 15 working days.

For Further details of these complaints please see Annex C

As this reflects a substantial number of the total amount of complaints received in the Court Service a system has now been put in place that central monitoring of these business areas will be included in future quarterly reviews.

 

Issues

Throughout the year there are have been a number of issues that have hampered the monitoring of the complaints process, they include:

Follow-up questionnaires

Annex A

Number of complaints Received by Courthouse

Londonderry 46
Laganside 43
Ballymena 38
RCJ 21
Newry 10
Antrim 10
Newtownards 10
Downpatrick 7
Omagh 5
Craigavon 4
Dungannon 4
Lisburn 3
Armagh 2
Magherafelt 1
Larne 1
Coleraine 1

 

The following courthouses provided “Nil” returns

Banbridge
Bangor
Enniskillen
Limavady
Strabane

 

Annex B

Complaint by Category

 

Annex C

Court Funds Office

How Complaint was received

Writing 11
Telephone 11
Email 1

Breakdown of complaint Category

Administrative Error 2
Delays 1
Another Organisation 2
Solicitor 1
Other 17 (15 of which related to poor investment performance)

 

Enforcement of Judgments Office

How Complaint was received

Writing 9
Telephone 3

Breakdown of complaint Category

Delays 4
Administrative Error 3
Other 5 (including fees, quality of evidence, and 2x System errors)