Legal Services Regulation Act 2015

58.

Admissibility of complaints

58.  (1) This section applies to a preliminary review conducted under section 57 by the Authority to determine whether or not a complaint is admissible.

(2) The Authority shall determine a complaint to be inadmissible, if in the opinion of the Authority the complaint is—

(a) frivolous or vexatious, or

(b) without substance or foundation.

(3) The Authority shall determine a complaint to be inadmissible where it is satisfied that the act or omission to which the complaint relates is the same or substantially the same act or omission as that which was the subject matter of a complaint in respect of that legal practitioner which was previously determined under this Act.

(4) The Authority shall determine a complaint that is made in respect of a solicitor to be inadmissible where it is satisfied that the act or omission to which the complaint relates is—

(a) the same or substantially the same act or omission as that which was the subject matter of a complaint in respect of that solicitor which was previously determined under the Solicitors Acts 1954 to 2015—

(i) by the High Court, or

(ii) by the Law Society or any of its Committees or Tribunals,

or

(b) the same or substantially the same act or omission as that which was the subject of civil proceedings or criminal proceedings in respect of which a final determination of the issues has been made by the court in those proceedings in favour of the solicitor concerned.

(5) The Authority shall determine a complaint that is made in respect of a barrister to be inadmissible where it is satisfied that the act or omission to which the complaint relates is—

(a) the same or substantially the same act or omission as that which was the subject matter of a complaint in respect of that barrister which was previously determined by the Barristers’ Professional Conduct Tribunal or the Honorable Society of King’s Inns, or

(b) the same or substantially the same act or omission as that which was the subject of civil proceedings or criminal proceedings in respect of which a final determination of the issues has been made by the court in those proceedings in favour of the barrister concerned.

(6) (a) Where the Authority is satisfied that the act or omission to which a complaint relates is the subject of civil proceedings or criminal proceedings in respect of which a final determination of the issues has not been made by the court in those proceedings, the Authority may defer consideration under this Part of the complaint until the proceedings have been finally determined.

(b) Where the Authority is satisfied that the act or omission to which a complaint relates has been investigated by a court in civil proceedings or criminal proceedings and that a final determination of the issues which are, in substance, the issues involved in the complaint has been made by the court in those proceedings in favour of the legal practitioner concerned, the Authority may decide to take no action or no further action in relation to the complaint.

(c) Proceedings shall not be regarded as finally determined for the purposes of paragraph (a) or (b) until any appeal, rehearing or retrial in relation to those proceedings has been determined.

(7) The Authority shall determine a complaint under section 51(1) to be inadmissible where it is satisfied that the complaint was made more than 3 years after the later of the following:

(a) the date on which the legal services concerned were provided or the bill of costs concerned was issued; or

(b) the date on which the client first became aware, or ought reasonably to have become aware, that it would be reasonable to consider that paragraph (a) or (b) of section 51(1) applied in respect of the legal practitioner concerned.

(8) In reckoning any period of time for the purposes of the limitation period under subsection (7), the period between the date of receipt of a complaint by the body referred to in subsection (1) or (2) of section 52 and the making, on invitation by the Authority under section 52(3) , of a complaint under section 51 in respect of the act or omission concerned, shall be disregarded.

(9) Where the Authority does not determine a complaint to be inadmissible under this section, it shall determine the complaint to be admissible.

(10) In this section, “Barristers’ Professional Conduct Tribunal” means the body of that name constituted in accordance with the Disciplinary Code for the Bar of Ireland.