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Conciliation participation and complaint resolution

Conciliation is a voluntary service that will only occur if both the lawyer and the client wish to participate.

Complaints that may be suitable for conciliation include:

  • cost disputes, where a resolution has not been able to be reached directly between the lawyer and client
  • withholding documents or files - where a lawyer will not release the file to a client for information or to transfer it to another lawyer
  • where a lawyer has placed a caveat on a client’s property or other assets
  • communication breakdowns, such as a client’s lawyer ignoring correspondence and telephone calls
  • where there is a need to rebuild or improve a lawyer/client working relationship
  • where a lawyer cannot or will not explain how a client’s matter was handled
  • where there are service issues that cannot be resolved.

Complaints that may not be suitable for conciliation include:

  • if there is a possibility of criminal charges being laid against the lawyer
  • if there is evidence of misconduct that makes it appropriate for disciplinary action to be taken against the lawyer
  • where the safety of the client or lawyer may potentially be at risk
  • where there is a power imbalance between the parties that cannot be addressed within the conciliation process.