Complaints Procedure

The RBSLI Complaints Procedure is aligned with the RBSLI Code of Ethics, its goal is to uphold the integrity, ethical standards and professional practice of the interpreters and translators registered with RBSLI. In keeping with this goal, RBSLI have a comprehensive process whereby complaints and allegations of poor ethical practice and behaviour can be thoroughly reviewed and resolved through mediation or complaint review.

Download RBSLI Complaints Form

Please see Complaint documents below:

Complaint Submitted

A complainant completes the downloaded Complaints Form above, or sends a BSL clip attached to an email or a BSL DVD to the PCC Chair at the RBSLI registered address.

Complaint Reviewed

Each complaint is reviewed, a decision is made to continue the complaints process or not.

Complaint Dismissed

A complaint may be dismissed if the documentation is incomplete or if the complaint itself is not relevant to the RBSLI Code of Ethics or not about an RBSLI Registrant or has already been resolved another way.

Complaint Accepted

If a complaint is accepted, the complainant and the respondent will receive letters that an official case has been opened. The letter will either say that an investigation will now take place and a future date will be given for the hearing and what the complainant and respondent need to do, OR, will recommend that the complainant and respondent engage in a mediated session.

Mediation Session

Mediation is a collaborative problem-solving process that allows the person making the complaint and the interpreter or translator to discuss a shared conflict and mutually agree upon a resolution. They meet with a third person who will act as a neutral third party to facilitate and guide the discussion. Mediation is a possible first step in the multi-level complaints system. It aims to increase efficiency of dealing with complaints and restore relationships.


The parties may come together and discuss the complaint and a possible way to resolve it. If they do agree, then they set up an agreement for them both to follow. The hope is that they will sort out any misunderstandings, discuss the concerns of possible ethical misconduct and mutually agree on what happens next.

No Agreement

The parties may not be able to find an agreed solution that satisfies both sides. If that is the case, the mediator will close the session and submit the case to the next level, which is investigation and hearing. If mediation agreement is reached but one or both of the parties does not meet the terms of the agreement, the case moves to investigation and hearing.


A hearing is a review process in which a selected panel of interpreters/translators and others look at the evidence, (provided by the complainant, the respondent and that gathered by the investigator), and ask the complainant, respondent and witnesses questions to decide if the respondent did breach the RBSLI Code of Ethics. The hearing is held in private and the complainant, respondent and witnesses are asked to attend.


Yes the respondent breached the RBSLI Code of Ethics

After careful review, the hearing panel may find that the respondent’s behaviour was a clear breach of the Code. If that is the case, they will make a written/BSL declaration with the reason for their decision. The panel will also decide what the respondent must do. The decision-making power is in the hands of the panel assigned to the case.

No the respondent did not breach the RBSLI Code of Ethics

After considering the facts and circumstances, the hearing panel may find that the respondent’s behaviour was not a breach of the Code. They may decide that the evidence is not clear or insufficient and decide there was no breach. It is possible that the respondent’s behaviour is unbecoming of an interpreter, but not a breach of the RBSLI Code of Ethics.


After a hearing panel makes a decision that the respondent breached the RBSLI Code of Ethics, the respondent may want to appeal the decision. If so, a new appeals panel of interpreters/translators and one other will review the decision of the hearing panel.

Final Decision

In the event that a case is not appealed, the panel’s decision is final. If an appeal is filed, the decision will be reviewed, but the appeal panel’s decision is final as it is the last level of appeal in the process.

The Sanctions section below is taken from the Full Complaints Procedure Document


7.1   Any of the following sanctions may be imposed where the decision of the Disciplinary Hearing Panel (DHP) is that there has been a breach of the Code of Ethics:

(a) An undertaking from the Registrant as to future conduct

(b) An undertaking from the Registrant to participate in, (and pay the costs of), appropriate training and complete such training to the satisfaction of RBSLI

(c) A written warning

(d) Suspension for a period of 6 or 12 months

(e) Removal of the Registrant from the Register

(f) An award of costs; cost to be awarded at the discretion of the DHP and shall take into consideration the costs of any failed mediation, the investigation and hearing

7.2    In considering the appropriate sanction the DHP may take into account:

(a) The nature of the breach

(b) A deterrent to other Registrants from committing similar breaches

(c) Any other breach of the Code, which has resulted in a sanction being imposed on the Registrant, in the last 12 month rolling period

7.3    The Chair of the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) will write to the Respondent and the Complainant to inform them of:

(a) The decision

(b) The sanction imposed

(a) The reason for the decision and of the sanction imposed

7.4    The Chair of the PCC will also include in the letters to the Respondent and the Complainant that the Respondent has a right to appeal either the decision or the sanction or both, by writing to the Chair of the PCC within 21 days of the date of the letter.