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The Nairobi Code: ANNEX 2

Model Rules of Ethics for Legal Advisors in Refugee Cases

Annex 2

Complaint Mechanism as a Feature in a Professional Accountability Structure for Legal Aid Providers

At the very least every legal aid provider shall have a client complaint mechanism as part of its office handbook of operating procedures. These procedures shall be communicated to each client at the beginning of the relationship. Some suggested elements of the complaint procedure include:

1 Preprinted complaint forms which are in the major languages spoken by the client community. The form should assist the complainant in making the complaint by suggesting necessary elements such as date and place of action complained against and an opportunity to provide a narrative of the incident.

2 Each organization should determine the procedure for dealing with anonymous complaints. On their own anonymous complaints can never be the source of a negative action against an employee.

3 Instructions on how to communicate the complaint should appear on the form and also in a conspicuous public area of the legal aid provider’s office.

4 The complaint should be investigated and resolved in a timely fashion by a disinterested party.

5 The results of the complaint process should be communicated to the complainant where known.

6 The employee complained against shall have the presumption of innocence.

7 The person complained against should be notified of the complaint. The person complained against should have a right to reply to the complaint and all evidence used against them and to be heard by the independent investigator.

8 The organization shall keep records of all complaints submitted as well as of the investigation findings and resolutions.

9 The range of sanctions for violations ethical duties should be part of the office handbook of operating procedures.

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