Review of an Admissibility Decision

What is an admissibility decision?

It is a decision to exclude a complaint from the Service complaints system before investigation.

The Ombudsman has the power to review these decisions and make a final decision about whether the complaint should be accepted into the system.

When can I ask the Ombudsman to review an admissibility decision?

You have 4 weeks and 2 days from the date your decision was posted or emailed to ask the Ombudsman to review it.

If you made a complaint and it was not accepted for investigation, you can ask the Ombudsman to review this decision.

If your complaint was investigated but your request for an appeal was not accepted, you can ask the Ombudsman to review the decision not to accept the appeal.

If you don’t make your application to the Ombudsman within 4 weeks and 2 days, you need to provide reasons for this and your application might not be accepted.

When can’t the Ombudsman review an admissibility decision

If the incident you want to make a Service complaint about happened before 1 January 2008 and your complaint was not submitted before 31 December 2015, the Ombudsman has no legal power to look at the matter.

This is because a Service person can only make a Service Complaint if the matter they are complaining about occurred when they were subject to Service law.  Service law commenced on 1 January 2008. Prior to this, Service personnel were subject to the laws of their individual Services (Army Act 1955, Navy Discipline Act 1957 and the Air Force Act 1955.)  For incidents that occurred before 1 January 2008, personnel had until the 31 December 2015 to make a complaint and it is not possible to make a Service complaint now. It may be possible to raise your historical complaint in another way.

Admissibility Form

To complete the application form, you will need to open it in Adobe before filling it in. If you don’t do this, you won’t be able to save the form.

A complete application means you have provided all information requested on the application form, including consent, additional documents required and answered any additional questions asked by the Referrals and Enquiries Team.

Any decision made by the Ombudsman on a review is binding on all parties.

If your application is not accepted, you will receive a decision letter that explains why it was not accepted. For more information on the Ombudsman’s powers read what the Ombudsman can and can’t do.

How to submit your form

Double-check that you have completed all sections, signed and dated the form.

Save the form to your desktop or device.

Send the form to us by:

Post: Our postal address is:


PO BOX 72252,



Please retain proof of posting or use recorded delivery through Royal Mail. Please note that items signed for on delivery are not signed for by our office but staff at the post office. There is a delay between the date items are received at the PO BOX and the date they reach our office.

Email: The quickest way to send applications and documents to us is  electronically by email to our contact mailbox: Please note that our system cannot accept emails larger than 20MB. Emails that exceed the size limit will be blocked by our email system. Please send separate emails and mark each email in the subject box.

If you have any difficulty completing the form, contact our Enquiries and Referrals Team on 0300 369 0689 for assistance.

Timeframes for processing your application

2 days

Once we receive your application you will receive an acknowledgement within 2 working days.

10 days

The initial assessment of your application will take up to 10 working days.

17 days

Once your application has been allocated to an investigator, we aim to provide you with a final decision within 17 working days.

Please note: It is important that we can contact you once you have submitted an application. If we can’t contact you we may be unable to process your application or there may be delays in reviewing the decision.