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 July 8, 2023.|
The Law Society of British Columbia is the regulatory body for the legal profession in British Columbia. They have authority to review the conduct and competence of lawyers practicing in BC, including lawyers in private practice, legal aid lawyers, government lawyers and Crown prosecutors.
Prior to lodging a complaint, a client should first talk to the lawyer or another member of the lawyer's firm about the issue. If speaking directly with the lawyer fails, a complaint may be filed. This can be done by filling out a Complaint Form and emailing it to email@example.com. Alternatively, the Complaint Form can be sent by Canada Post or courier to the following address:
- Attention: Intake Officer, Professional Conduct
- Law Society of British Columbia
- 845 Cambie Street
- Vancouver BC V6B 4Z9
The link to the Complaint Form is as follows: https://www.lawsociety.bc.ca/Website/media/Shared/docs/forms/ProfCon/Complaint.pdf
After receiving the complaint, the Law Society will send back a letter advising that they have received the complaint. It will be reviewed and assigned to a staff lawyer, who may request further information, including supporting documents, before commencing an investigation.
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
Canadian Bar Association
There are a number of professional colleges that regulate healthcare professionals in BC. Each college may have its own policies and procedures for complaints against their respective healthcare professionals. For a full list of the current professional colleges, visit:
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