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Making a Complaint

Making a complaint to the Farriers Registration Council about a Farrier.

Introduction

The following summarises what to do if you wish to make a complaint against a Registered Farrier's workmanship and/or conduct on the basis of professional misconduct. A Booklet entitled 'Making a Complaint to the Farriers Registration Council' which gives full details of the Council's complaints procedure, the roles of the Investigating and Disciplinary Committees and the Council's powers is available from the Council on request. The Council has no power to order compensation or costs for professional negligence such must be pursued through the civil courts.

Before Making a Complaint

Dissatisfaction between a farrier and a client can arise because of misunderstandings or breakdowns in communication. These can often be resolved by direct discussion with the farrier concerned. It is always best to try to resolve a problem in this way before making a formal complaint. If you are considering making such a complaint, it is good practice to write to the farrier setting out the problem and asking for an appointment to talk to him/her at a mutually convenient time in an effort to resolve the situation.

If your own efforts to resolve a grievance directly with your farrier have failed, or if you believe the complaint is too serious to be pursued with the farrier directly, the Farriers Registration Council may be able to pursue the matter on your behalf.

A Complaint of Serious Professional Misconduct

If you wish to pursue a formal complaint you will need to complete a form setting out the details of your complaint and including all the relevant facts. You must also submit evidence to support your case if at all possible. Evidence may be in the form of two identical sets of identified, dated and pertinent photographs, video tapes or x-rays, reports from attending farriers or veterinary surgeons and statements from eye witnesses.

Please be aware that the quality and weight of evidence is a crucial factor in the determination of your complaint. Judgments can only be made on facts and hearsay will be excluded. For example, it would not be sufficient to say in your statement 'my vet said my horse's feet were in a terrible state'. You must submit a statement from your vet as to the condition of the horse's feet as he/she saw them.

The onus regarding the collection of evidence lies with the complainant since only you are aware of the full circumstances of your case. The function of the Council staff is purely administrative; they can advise on procedural matters but advice or opinions on individual cases cannot be given since this might prejudice the proceedings.

On Receipt of a Signed Complaint

The receipt of a signed complaint form and supporting evidence will be acknowledged in writing. Providing everything is in order all the paperwork and evidence will be sent to the Registered Farrier involved with a formal request for his comments on the issues raised. Once these have been returned any further enquiries which may be necessary to clarify matters will be made by the Council staff.

Investigating Committee

All documentation will then be passed to the Investigating Committee for its consideration. The Committee only meets three/four times a year so there is inevitably some delay. This meeting is held in the strictest confidence and neither the complainant nor the Farrier attend. The Committee decides whether or not there is a case of serious professional misconduct to answer and if the evidence is sufficient to justify the case going forward to the Disciplinary Committee. You will be informed of the outcome in writing.

Disciplinary Committee

The procedures used by the Disciplinary Committee are similar to those of a Court of Law. Proceedings are open to the public and witnesses are called and may be cross-examined on oath. The complaint is presented by the Council's solicitor and/or barrister. The respondent farrier may be legally represented and is well advised to be so. The complainant may be called as a witness and this will usually be essential in contested cases.

Outcome

In any case where the allegation is found to be proved, and the Committee consider it to be serious misconduct in a professional respect, the Committee has the power to:

  • direct that the Farrier's name be removed from the Register; or
  • direct that the registration of the Farrier be suspended for a specified period; or
  • make no direction with respect to the Farrier; or
  • postpone judgment.

The Disciplinary Committee has no power to order a fine nor to order the payment of compensation or costs.

If you wish to make a complaint or discuss a possible complaint please telephone or write to the office. You can discuss your concerns in confidence and a member of staff will give you further information and send you our Booklet and form if necessary.

Professional Negligence

Alleged cases of professional negligence are usually heard by the civil courts who have the power to award compensation, damages and/or costs. The FRC has no such powers, so persons seeking damages or financial compensation should follow the civil route.