Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman homepage

The Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman investigates complaints about the judicial appointments process and the handling of matters involving judicial discipline or conduct.

The Ombudsman assumed his responsibilities on 3 April 2006 under the Provisions of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. He is completely independent of Government and the judiciary.

The inaugural Ombudsman, Sir John Brigstocke KCB, is a former Second Sea Lord and Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command. During his four years on the Admiralty Board, he acted as an Admiralty Board Complaints Adjudicator. For just over two years he was the senior adjudicator, with responsibility for both policy and the delivery of the complaints service.

His other naval appointments included Captain of the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth, Captain of HMS Ark Royal and Commander of the UK Task Group.

The Queen has been pleased to approve the re-appointment of Sir John Brigstocke KCB as the Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman for a period of five years from 25 January 2011.

There are two distinct aspects to his work:

  • to seek redress in the event of maladministration. 'Maladministration' includes (among other things) delay, rudeness, bias, faulty procedures, offering misleading advice, refusal to answer questions and unfair treatment; and
  • through recommendations and constructive feedback, to improve standards and practices in the authorities or departments concerned.

Our principles:

  • Our service is free of charge.
  • We strive to investigate complaints to the highest standard, dealing with them promptly, fairly and in accordance with our published procedures.
  • We have an equal duty of care to the complainant and the person or organisation complained about.

In addition:

  • We value people and their diversity.
  • We listen to people to understand their needs and tailor our service accordingly.
  • We promote equal access to our service for all members of the community.

How to make a complaint

The Ombudsman's office looks into complaints in an open, fair and transparent way. We deal with all those involved in the complaints process politely, promptly and in strict confidence.

Judicial appointments

  • Complaints from candidates for judicial office about the way in which their application was handled;
  • Matters referred to us by the Lord Chancellor relating to the procedures of the Judicial Appointments Commission or a committee of the Commission.

Please take a look at our booklet How to complain about the handling of complaints concerning the judicial appointments process [PDF, 460 kb] to find out more.

If you wish to make an appointment complaint you should complete the appointment complaint form [PDF, 208 kb] and return it to us.

Judicial conduct and discipline

  • Complaints about a judge's personal conduct from either a complainant, or a judge who is the subject of a complaint, about how that complaint was handled;
  • Matters referred to us by the Lord Chancellor or the Lord Chief Justice relating to the handling of conduct issues.

Please take a look at our booklet How to complain about the handling of complaints concerning the personal conduct of the judiciary [PDF, 732 kb] to find out more.

If you wish to make a conduct complaint you should complete the conduct complaint form[PDF, 211 kb] and return it to us.

(note: in this context the term 'Judge' covers all those offices listed in the following link, including magistrates and members of tribunals to which the Lord Chancellor makes appointments).

Alphabetical list of offices included in Schedule 14 of the Act [PDF, 80 kb].

Special assistance

The Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman aims to provide ease of access to our services for all complainants. Please see our Contact Us page for ways in which we can provide assistance, if needed.

Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman


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