Complaints against Lawyers (5:XII)
|This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by the Law Students' Legal Advice Program on June 30, 2021.|
If you wish to file a complaint against your lawyer, there are several options. First, before taking any legal action, you may wish to talk or write to your lawyer about the issue. If speaking directly with your lawyer fails, you can file a complaint with the Law Society of British Columbia, the body that regulates lawyers in BC.
Ways to file a complaint:
By postal mail: Attention: Intake Officer Professional Conduct Law Society of British Columbia 845 Cambie Street Vancouver, BC, V6B 4Z9
Online: at the Law Society of BC’s website: http://www.lawsociety.bc.ca.
The Professional Conduct Department will review the complaint against the lawyer. If they find they have no authority to investigate the complaint, they will close the file. Otherwise, they will contact the lawyer for a response.
The Law Society discipline hearings are similar to court hearings. A hearing can lead to a reprimand of the lawyer, a fine up to $20,000, conditions set upon the lawyer, suspension of the lawyer, or disbarment of the lawyer. Law Society decisions are not always final and can be appealed.
For further information on the complaint process, phone the Law Society at 604-669-2533 or 1-800-903-5300.
If it is the lawyer’s fee that is the problem, there are two solutions:
- Consult the Registrar of the BC Supreme Court to review the bill. If you have not already paid for it, you have one year from the date of the bill to apply to the registrar. However, if you have paid for it, you only have three months to apply. The registrar will hold a hearing where you and your lawyer are present. The registrar will decide the fee.
- Use the Law Society’s free mediation service. The mediator will help all parties reach a settlement.
The Law Society cannot help with disputes over money or property. If you believe your lawyer has acted negligently, you can seek legal advice from another lawyer about your options.
The Law Society of BC https://www.lawsociety.bc.ca/complaints-lawyer-discipline-and-public-hearings/complaints/ https://www.lawsociety.bc.ca/complaints-lawyer-discipline-and-public-hearings/faq-complaints-and-discipline/
Canadian Bar Association https://www.cbabc.org/For-the-Public/Dial-A-Law/Scripts/Lawyers-Legal-Services-and-Courts/436
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