Chartered Institute
of Linguists

Professional Conduct Procedures


CIOL is committed to setting, maintaining and upholding the highest standards of professional conduct. It sets out the standards and behaviours expected of its members and Chartered Linguists in the Code of Professional Conduct, which all members and chartered linguists agree to abide by when they join CIOL. The professional conduct procedures apply to all current CIOL members and to all registered Chartered Linguists. 

If you feel that a CIOL member or Chartered Linguist has breached the Code please ensure that you read the information below before proceeding any further as it is important that you understand what CIOL will investigate and what we won’t. You must also understand the role and remit of CIOL, the limits of our powers and what sanctions can be applied if an allegation is upheld.

CIOL’s professional conduct procedures set out the processes CIOL will follow to determine if there has been an alleged breach of the Code and for any subsequent investigation.  CIOL recognises that it can be troubling if you experience difficulties with a CIOL member and investigations can be stressful for all concerned. CIOL will aim to keep you informed of progress at all times.

It is not the role of CIOL to substitute for, review, seek to overturn or act in an appellate capacity over decisions made in any other related proceedings (legal, displinary or otherwise) and CIOL’s remit only relates to the professional conduct of a member or Chartered Linguist. When submitting any alleged breaches of the Code you are required to provide evidence to support your allegation. If evidence cannot be provided then the allegation cannot be taken further. Not all conduct by a member will necessarily imply a breach of the Code or lead to action being taken against them.

Enquiries regarding professional conduct procedures should be sent in the first instance to

Who can raise an allegation?

You can raise an allegation if you:

  • Have directly procured the services of the member (such as a translator, interpreter, language teacher, language specialist etc.)
  • Are an employer of the member
  • Are an agency which has engaged with the member
  • Are a professional linguist who has worked with or alongside the member or are associated with the member in another professional capacity 

Professional conduct procedures are not legal proceedings. If a breach of the Code is determined, CIOL has the power to consider and impose a range of sanctions which include but are not limited to:

  • Permanent exclusion from membership
  • Suspension from membership for a specified period of time
  • Revoking chartership either temporarily or permanently
  • Advising the member of best practice and their future conduct
  • Requiring the member to take positive action or to meet certain conditions to improve their practice such as CPD (Continuing Professional Development)
  • Making known the outcome of the investigation 


If a member is found to be in breach of the Code, CIOL will not be liable to cover any monetary losses or any form of compensation. Neither can we direct the member to cover any monetary losses or pay any compensation. Sanctions for members in breach of the Code are explained above.  If you are seeking financial compensation you should seek independent advice on the appropriate course of action available to you.

Commercial disputes

CIOL cannot make any judgement on any issues which are of a commercial nature, or are considered to be a breach of contract. In such cases you should seek independent advice on the appropriate course of action available to you. Likewise if you engaged the services of a CIOL member via an agency, then you should seek redress through the complaints procedure of the agency concerned.

Employment disputes

CIOL cannot investigate matters which are covered by an employer’s own internal disciplinary procedures.

Criminal activity and legal advice

CIOL cannot investigate allegations that a member has broken the law. If you suspect this is the case you should advise the police or relevant authorities. CIOL is not able to provide legal advice.

Parallel proceedings

If the member is currently subject to another investigation such as a tribunal, disciplinary or grievance hearing (or other related proceedings, legal or otherwise) then these are known as Parallel Proceedings and the allegations against the member for potential breach of the Code will normally be put on hold until the parallel proceedings have concluded.   

Anonymity and evidence

CIOL is not able to investigate anonymous complaints. The complainant must be prepared to be identified. Likewise, CIOL cannot investigate complaints based on hearsay; evidence of the alleged breach must be provided in a clear and concise manner when an allegation is submitted.

The following will not be covered by the professional conduct procedures:

  • Complaints about linguists who are not in current CIOL membership
  • Complaints that relate to events which took place more than 12 months ago
  • Complaints about CIOL’s own services – these should be addressed under the CIOL Customer commitment.
  • Matters which fall outside the scope of the Code of Professional Conduct
  • Anonymous complaints 

How to raise an alleged breach of the Code

The process to raise an alleged breach of the Code is set out in detail here

To determine if you should proceed to the next stage i.e. submission of a formal complaint against a member, please complete our quick eligibility check

Depending on the outcome of the check you will then proceed to the referral stage, which is the formal submission of the allegation via the online Referral Form, which is accessible once the eligibility check has been undertaken.