A complaint can be about a lawyer’s conduct, or the fees charged.
A complaint will usually be made by the lawyer's client, but it can also be made by a third party who is otherwise impacted by the lawyer's conduct or fees.
Generally, a complaint against a lawyer relates to:
Not all types of complaints amount to misconduct. For example, the fact that a lawyer has simply made a mistake will not in itself usually amount to misconduct.
A complaint must be submitted in writing, ideally using the complaint form. To constitute a proper complaint, the complainant must have paid a fee of $110 (including GST), unless that fee has been reduced or waived. For more information please refer to Fee to lodge a complaint. The complaint must:
A complaint must be made within 3 years of the conduct that is the subject of the complaint, or such longer period as the Commissioner may allow.
A person who has been declared by the Supreme Court to be a vexatious litigant is not able to make a complaint.
The Commissioner’s office treats every complaint seriously and follows a thorough investigative process. If an investigation leads to the conclusion that the lawyer has been guilty of misconduct, then the Commissioner will take disciplinary action.
If the Commissioner receives a complaint about a lawyer that complies with the requirements set out above, then he generally must investigate that complaint. However, in some limited circumstances he may decide to close a complaint without investigating it (or without completing the investigation) - for example, where: