Ombudsman for Children Act 2002

Preliminary examination and investigation of complaints.

10

10.—(1) ( a) The Ombudsman for Children shall not investigate an action under section 8 or 9 unless—

(i) a complaint has been made to him or her in relation to the action by or on behalf of a child, or

(ii) it appears to him or her, having regard to all the circumstances, that an investigation under this section into the action would be warranted.

( b) A complaint may be made to the Ombudsman for Children on behalf of a child by—

(i) a parent of the child, or

(ii) any other person who, by reason of that person's relationship (including professional relationship) with the child and his or her interest in the rights and welfare of the child, is considered by the Ombudsman for Children to be a suitable person to represent the child.

( c) If a complaint is made to the Ombudsman for Children by a child or on behalf of a child by a person other than a parent of the child, the Ombudsman for Children shall, before investigating the complaint, inform a parent of the child of the complaint.

( d) In this subsection “parent”, in relation to a child, means the mother or father of the child or, where the child has been adopted under the Adoption Acts, 1952 to 1998, or outside of the State, the adopter or surviving adopter of the child, a foster parent of the child, a guardian of the child appointed under the Guardianship of Children Acts, 1964 to 1997, or other person acting in loco parentis to the child pursuant to a statutory power or order of a Court.

(2) The Ombudsman for Children may—

( a) having carried out a preliminary examination of the matter, decide not to carry out an investigation under this Act into an action in relation to which a complaint is made, or

( b) discontinue an investigation under this Act into such an action,

if he or she becomes of opinion that—

(i) the complaint is trivial or vexatious,

(ii) the child making the complaint, or on whose behalf the complaint is made, has an insufficient interest in the matter,

(iii) the child making the complaint, or on whose behalf the complaint is made, has not taken reasonable steps to seek redress in respect of the subject matter of the complaint or, if he or she has, has not been refused redress, or

(iv) the lapse of time since the occurrence of the matter complained of makes effective redress impossible or impracticable.

(3) It shall not be necessary for the Ombudsman for Children to investigate an action under this Act if he or she is of opinion that the subject matter concerned has been, is being or will be sufficiently investigated in another investigation by him or her under this Act.

(4) A preliminary examination or investigation by the Ombudsman for Children shall not affect the validity of the action examined or investigated or any power or duty of the person who took the action to take further action with respect to any matters the subject of the examination or investigation.

(5) In determining whether to initiate, continue or discontinue an investigation under this Act, the Ombudsman for Children shall, subject to this Act, act in accordance with his or her own discretion.

(6) Nothing in section 8(a) or 9(1)(i) or subsection (1)(a) shall be construed as prohibiting the investigation by the Ombudsman for Children of—

( a) an action that, in the opinion of the Ombudsman for Children, has or may have affected any child other than in an official capacity, or

( b) an action the subject of a complaint to him or her by an individual acting other than in an official capacity.

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