First Legal Services Oversight Commissioner appointed

Mrs Marian Cree has been appointed to the positions of Legal Services Oversight Commissioner and Lay Observer. This appointment was made by the Finance Minister, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir MLA, following consultation with the Lord Chief Justice.

Mrs Cree has been appointed to serve as Legal Services Oversight Commissioner for a period of three years with effect from 3 April 2017.  She will also undertake the role of Lay Observer until the new structures for handling complaints against the legal profession are fully in place. She will receive annual remuneration of £35,000.

Additional information

  • The Legal Services Oversight Commissioner is a newly created public office.  It was established by the Legal Complaints and Regulation Act (NI) 2016 which introduces new provisions to move away from a system where legal professionals handle their own complaints process, to one where lay people lead the process. The Commissioner will be an independent officer responsible for making provisions regarding complaints against members of the legal profession. The Commissioner will not be directly involved in assessing complaints, but will have an important role in overseeing the introduction of the new system and monitoring the effectiveness of the new structures.
  • Mrs Marian Cree is currently the NI representative with the Competition and Markets Authority, but will be standing down from this role to take up the position of Legal Services Oversight Commissioner. Prior to this, Marian was the Head of Energy Policy with the NI Consumer Council. She previously held a range of Civil Service posts, including Head of Further Education Policy and Head of Vocational Qualifications Reform Policy in NI. She received a Cabinet Office Award for her work on the first Welfare Reform initiative to be introduced here. Mrs Cree does not hold any other Ministerial public appointments.
  • This appointment was made in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments Code of Practice. The appointment of the Legal Services Oversight Commissioner is made by the Minister for Finance in consultation with the Lord Chief Justice.
  • The Legal Services Oversight Commissioner is is a part-time post, with a time commitment envisaged to be two to three days per week. The new structures for handling complaints against the legal profession are expected to come into effect later this year.
  • All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, the Commissioner for Public Appointments requires the political activity of appointees to be published. Mrs Cree declared that she had not engaged in any political activity in the last five years.
  • For further information on this appointment, please contact Martin Monaghan on 028 9185 8228 or email martin.monaghan@finance-ni.gov.uk