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Complaint process for overcharging

Upon receiving a written complaint about potential overcharging, the Commissioner’s office will:

  1. acknowledge in writing the receipt of the complaint
  2. assess the complaint, consider the facts, and determine its merit
  3. where appropriate, seek to conciliate the dispute between the client and the lawyer
  4. if conciliation isn't appropriate or if there is no conciliated outcome, then further investigate the alleged overcharging
  5. make a recommendation as to whether or not there has been overcharging
  6. if that recommendation is not accepted, and if the amount in dispute is $50,000 or less (for a complaint made on or after 1 December 2019) or $10,000 or less (for a complaint made before that date), then consider going through the required process to make a binding determination.

At any stage of the process a complaint can be closed for various reasons, including if the Commissioner determines that:

  • it is outside of the Commissioner’s jurisdiction
  • the Commissioner determines that it is frivolous or lacking substance
  • the complainant does not respond adequately to a request for further information
  • the complainant does not cooperate in the investigation or conciliation of the complaint
  • the legal fees have previously been the subject of other court action.