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The office of Complaints Commissioner was written into the Constitution by way of the Virgin Islands (Constitution) (Amendment) Order, 2000 and inserted as new sections 66A and 66B, retained as sections 110 and 111 in the Virgin Islands Constitution Order, 2007. The provisions were brought into force on 12th June, 2000. Section 66B (now 111) stated that the Commissioner would have "such functions and jurisdiction as may be prescribed by law" and also stipulated its independence of action thus:

(2) In the exercise of his or her functions, the Complaints Commissioner shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority.

The Legislative Council passed the Complaints Commissioner Act, 2003 (No. 6 of 2003) ("the Act") on 17th April of that year. The Act was, by oversight, not brought into force until 23rd February, 2009 by proclamation of then Governor, Mr. David Pearey, in Statutory Instrument No. 7 of 2009 (gazetted on 26th February, 2009). Neither the Constitution nor the Act included any reference to enforcement of decisions.

The Act authorizes the investigation of "any action taken by a department of Government or a public authority in the exercise of its administrative functions".

The investigation could be triggered by a complaint made in writing by any person alleging that he or she has suffered injustice as a result of 'maladministration'; by a written request from a Member of the House requesting the investigation on behalf of someone in similar circumstances; and by the Commissioner's own decision that an action or series of actions should be investigated on the ground that someone has, or may have, sustained an injustice.

Lists of known Government departments and public authorities are appended to the report. They are not exhaustive, as ad hoc bodies also come within the scope of the Act.

Jurisdiction

6. Section 5 (4) of the Act sets limits on what the Commissioner may investigate. It states:

The said Schedule lists action taken under any law relating to extradition or fugitive offenders; action taken for the purpose of investigating crime or protecting the security of the Territory; the commencement of civil or criminal proceedings before any court or international tribunal; and action in respect of appointments, removals, pay, discipline, pension or other personnel matters in relation to service or employment in any department of Government or public authority.

None of these actions is subject to investigation.

Furthermore, section 3 of the Act puts the following outside the application of the Act: judges; magistrates; the functions of any court; the Attorney General, the Director of Public Prosecutions and Auditor General, in the exercise of their constitutional powers; and the deliberations and proceedings of the Cabinet and House of Assembly or any committee thereof.