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10 May 2023

Engaging with the Lay Complainant


Date 10 May 2023
Time 13:00 - 14:30
Location Online
CPD Points 1.5 General Group Study


This session will include:

- An overview of the current complaints landscape – Laura McCullough, Head of Professional Conduct, Law Society of Northern Ireland;

- Dealing with complaints from the perspective of the LSNI Client Complaints Committee – John Guerin, Chair of the Client Complaints Committee, Law Society of Northern Ireland;

- The work of the Legal Services Oversight Commissioner including report findings, views, comments and observations on how solicitor firms could improve complaint management – Marian Cree, Legal Services Oversight Commissioner.


The session will be delivered by:

Laura McCullough - Head of Professional Conduct, Law Society of Northern Ireland

Laura qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales in 2009 and was admitted to the Roll of Solicitors in Northern Ireland in 2010. Having spent four years in private practice specialising in family law Laura then moved back to Northern Ireland and into the field of social care regulation for the following 12 years. Leading on regulatory reform, fitness to practise proceedings and investigations. Laura holds professional qualifications in Complaints Handling and Investigation, Mediation Accreditation, and the Professional Certificate in International Regulatory Affairs.


John Guerin – Chair of Client Complaints Committee

John is a partner and head of office at Clyde & Co Solicitors at both their Belfast and Derry branch and has multiple areas of expertise.

Throughout his career, he has acted for many of the major insurers as well as education and library boards. His experience in this field includes matters related to employers’ liability, public liability, and road traffic accident claims.

In more recent years his caseload is mainly high-value and complex High Court cases involving the healthcare sector and occupational stress claims. Additionally, John has many years of experience in employment law advising clients on aspects of their contracts of employment, grievance, disciplinary matters, unfair dismissal, and discrimination cases.

John also represents clients before the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), the Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC), the Care Tribunal, and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). He was also the lead partner at the Northern Irish Hyponatraemia Inquiry during which he represented nurses in the investigation into the deaths of five children.


Marian Cree – Lay Observer

Marian Cree has held the position of Legal Services Oversight Commissioner since 1st April 2017. Her appointment was for an initial term of 3 years and was renewed for a further 3 years in 2020.

Marian’s career has been varied. She left school aged sixteen and joined the Northern Ireland Civil Service, spending the next thirty-two years working across a wide range of posts including Head of Learning and Curriculum Policy within the Further Education Division with lead responsibility in NI for the Reform and Regulation of Vocational Qualifications and the curriculum within the FE sector. In more recent years she was the Head of Energy Policy at the Consumer Council NI (CCNI) with responsibility for developing policies in line with CCNI’s statutory duties on all aspects of the energy market in NI.

Marian was the initial appointee as the Head of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) Office NI office when it opened in May 2015 and was involved in a number of the CMA Market Studies including Energy, Legal Services, Pay Day Loans, Care Homes and Banking.

Marian also sits on the Northern Ireland Parades Commission.


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