Complain about professional services

Introduction

Many professions and skilled groups have professional bodies to represent their interests. Some professionals must, by law, belong to a professional body. A professional body is responsible for regulating the services of its members and setting out minimum standards and codes of practice for professionals to follow.

Professional bodies often have complaints procedures that you can use if you have received a bad service.

This document explains what to do if you want to complain about the services of:

  • Legal professionals
  • Accountants
  • Teachers

You can also read:

If you want to contact another trade or professional body that is not listed in 'Further information' below, you can find a detailed list of regulated professions and competent authorities on singlepointsofcontact.ie.

How do I complain to the professional directly?

Many complaints can be resolved directly with the professional or their firm. Complaints can be made informally or formally.

Informal and formal complaints

You can complain directly with the professional either by talking face-to-face or over the phone to explain what your complaint is about and how you would like it to be put right. If the matter is more serious, or you are unable to resolve it informally, you can make a written complaint to the firm.

It is a good idea to contact the relevant professional body to ask for advice about complaining. There may be time limits, or other procedures that you need to be aware of.

You can find out more advice about how to make a complaint.

How do I take my complaint further?

If your complaint cannot be resolved by the professional themselves or by their firm, you can make a formal complaint to the relevant professional body.

Legal professionals

From 7 October 2019, complaints about solicitors and barristers are dealt with by the Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA). The LSRA has a statutory responsibility to regulate the services of legal practitioners and to ensure high standards.

You can make a complaint to the LSRA if you have received a poor legal service, been charged too much or you believe the legal professional is guilty of professional misconduct. Professional misconduct is unethical or unprofessional behaviour that falls short of the ethical or professional standards accepted by a particular profession. Examples include dishonesty, taking advantage of your age or inexperience, acting against your instructions or using insulting, racist or sexist language.

When the LSRA get the complaint, they will notify the legal practitioner (and the Law Society of Ireland if appropriate). The LSRA has more information about its dispute resolution process and making complaints about legal practitioners (pdf).

The LSRA complaint handling system replaces the previous complaints handling service provided by the Law Society and the Bar Council of Ireland.

Teachers

All teachers employed in recognised primary and secondary schools in Ireland must register with the Teaching Council.

The Teaching Council can investigate complaints and, where appropriate, hold inquiries about a registered teacher. Any person including a member of the public, employers and other teachers can make a complaint.

In general, you should first complain to the teacher’s school before you consider making a complaint to the Council.

The Council’s role is limited to issues of serious professional misconduct or cases where a teacher is the subject of a criminal investigation. Such issues may lead to withdrawal of a teacher’s registration on a permanent or temporary basis. You can find out more about making a complaint about a registered teacher.

Accountants

Accountants belong to 3 different professional bodies, and you should find out what type of accountant you have hired before making a formal complaint.

Further information

Legal Services Regulatory Authority

P.O. Box 12906
Dublin 2

Opening Hours: Lines open 10am – 12pm and 2pm to 4pm
Tel: 01 859 2911

The Teaching Council

Block A
Maynooth Business Campus
Maynooth
Kildare
Ireland

Tel: (01) 651 7900
Locall: 1890 224 224
Fax: (01) 651 7901

Page edited: 19 June 2020