Judicial Complaints Reviewer
Gillian Thompson

since 1 September 2014
AppointerCabinet Secretary for Justice
Constituting instrumentJudiciary and Courts (Scotland) Act 2008
First holderGillian Thompson

The Judicial Complaints Reviewer is a Scottish official who is responsible for reviewing the handling of complaints against the judiciary of Scotland by the Judicial Office for Scotland. The post was established in 2011 as a result of the Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Act 2008. The Reviewer is appointed by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, with the approval of the Lord President of the Court of Session. The Reviewer's services are open to those who have complained about the conduct of a member of the judiciary, and also to members of the judiciary who have been the subject of a complaint.

The first Judicial Complaints Reviewer was Moi Ali, 2011-2014 and the second was Gillian Thompson; who was appointed on 1 September 2014. The third reviewer takes up the role on 1 September 2017.

Remit and jurisdiction

Complaints about the conduct, both within and outwith the courts of Scotland, of judicial officer holders in Scotland are made to the Lord President through the Judicial Office for Scotland. However, the Judicial Office does not consider complaints about judicial decisions which are dealt with through appeals.[1]

The office of the Judicial Complaints Reviewer was established by Section 30 of the Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Act 2008[2] The Reviewer's role is to review how complaints regarding members of the judiciary have been handled by the Judicial Office for Scotland in accordance with the complaint rules laid down by the Lord President. As of May 2017, complaints should be handled in line with Complaints About the Judiciary (Scotland) Rules 2017.[3] She cannot change the outcome of the investigation, overturn a decision, or initiate redress. However, where she finds a fault in the process she passes a referral to the Lord President who then makes decision.[4]

Judicial Complaints Reviewer

Moi Ali became the first ever JCR on 1 September 2011.[5] She established the office and pushed for greater powers, claiming that the role was "window-dressing" and the judicial watchdog had no teeth.[6] She did not seek reappointment after the end of her three-year term, as she was dissatisfied with the powers of the role.[7] Gillian Thompson became the second Judicial Complaints Reviewer on 1 September 2014, and she too did not serve a second term of office.[8][9]


  1. ^ "Complaints About Court Judiciary - You and the Judiciary - Judiciary of Scotland" (PDF). www.scotland-judiciary.org.uk. Judicial Office for Scotland. 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  2. ^ "Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Act 2008 (Section 30)". www.legislation.gov.uk. The National Archives. 29 October 2008. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  3. ^ "Complaints About the Judiciary (Scotland) Rules 2017" (PDF). scotland-judiciary.org.uk. Judicial Office for Scotland. 31 March 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  4. ^ "How to complain". www.judicialcomplaintsreviewer.org.uk. Judicial Complaints Reviewer. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  5. ^ "Judicial Complaints Reviewer appointed : The Journal Online". www.journalonline.co.uk. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  6. ^ Findlay, Russell (15 December 2013). "Justice secretary Kenny MacAskill urged to improve scrutiny of Scotland's judges after claims they stifle public complaints". dailyrecord. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Judicial watchdog quits from 'straightjacket' role". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  8. ^ "New Judicial Complaints Reviewer appointed". The Scottish Government. Archived from the original on 23 October 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  9. ^ "Sunday Herald View: Scrutiny of judiciary must be taken seriously". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 23 May 2018.