Law Society of Ontario Lawyer Complaints

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Approximately five percent of complaints are referred to the Procedures Approval Committee and may result in disciplinary proceedings and a hearing. You can also address other issues related to the service, ethics and honesty of lawyers and paralegals. The type of complaint you wish to file determines what you need to do to file your complaint. The DHC is not in a position to investigate complaints. However, they can facilitate mediation to resolve your complaint. Mediation is a form of sustainable negotiation between the parties. Your lawyer or paralegal must voluntarily agree to participate in the mediation process. You can meet face-to-face with your lawyer or paralegal, or have a one-on-one interview with DHC. Law Society staff handle most complaints by advising lawyers and paralegals on client service. A small number of complaints about serious issues may result in formal prosecution, disciplinary hearings and sanctions. During this process, the Law Society will inform you of the status and outcome of your complaint.

They will tell you what happens to your complaint, including: To receive notice of appointment, you must go to the assessment office with your lawyer`s original invoice and four additional copies. You will be given an appointment for a hearing. Note that there is a fee to submit invoices for evaluation, and if the verification is outside the 30-day period, the fee will be higher. If you are unable to resolve the invoice dispute directly with your lawyer, you can contact the assessment agency to have your invoice reviewed. This is a process in which an assessment officer of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice reviews a lawyer`s bill. The Law Society has protocols in place to promote the effective handling of complaints about lawyers and paralegals appearing before administrative tribunals, judicial authorities and the judiciary. A late complaint will affect our ability to assist you, as well as the lawyer`s or paralegal`s ability to respond to the complaint. You must submit your complaint to us within three years of the date the problem occurred or the date you became aware of it. (There are very limited exceptions to this requirement, for example: if you were not aware of the information and, in the Law Society`s opinion, if it is both persuasive and relevant to your complaint; or if the delay in providing the information was caused by a proceeding before the court or an administrative tribunal). Some complaints are quickly closed or resolved. However, if your complaint is complicated or raises serious professional conduct issues, an investigation may take up to a year or more. Protocols and the mentoring process were introduced to address concerns that judges may be reluctant to refer a lawyer`s or paralegal`s misconduct to the Law Society because the judge may not believe the conduct is serious enough to warrant regulatory proceedings.

The Law Society can now decide to initiate regulatory proceedings or refer the lawyer or paralegal for supervision. The Law Society cannot respond to all types of complaints. For example, they do not resolve disputes over a lawyer`s bills. If you do not agree with the decision of Intake and Resolution Services staff or Investigation Services staff to close your complaint and you have been offered a review of the decision, you may request a review by the Complaints Resolution Officer. The Complaints Resolution Officer conducts an impartial review of our decision to close the complaint file. This is an important function that is independent of the Law Society`s professional regulatory activity. For more information, see the Complaints Resolution Commissioner page. It is not possible to review complaints closed by the Complaints Resolution Officer within the Complaints and Compliance Department. The Law Society can investigate your complaint and discipline your lawyer if necessary.

Most lawyers and paralegals are very concerned when they learn that they are the subject of a complaint to the Law Society. It may be helpful to discuss the complaint and your response to the complaint with a partner, colleague or other trusted advisor. Does not have the capacity to fulfill his or her duties as a lawyer or paralegal. Don`t wait too long to start the evaluation process. If you start more than a month after receiving the bill from your lawyer, you will need permission from a Supreme Court judge to have the bill reviewed. It can cost you time and money and you may not get permission from the judge. The Tribunal`s Court Complaints Protocols and Complaints Protocol support the Law Society`s mandate to regulate lawyers and paralegals in the public interest and to advance the cause of justice. The protocols are intended to provide a coordinated and accountable process for handling complaints. If you have a complaint about your lawyer or paralegal that is not about the amount of the bill, read the Law Society`s Lawyer or Paralegal Complaint page.

As part of our mandate, we respond to complaints about the conduct, competence and capacity of lawyers and paralegals. For example, we deal with issues related to the inability of a lawyer or paralegal to respond to communications. failure to report a transaction; Delay; misleading, rude and discriminatory behaviour and non-invoicing or mishandling of funds. The Law Society and the Courts of Ontario have established civility complaint protocols to improve the courtesy and professionalism of lawyers and paralegals appearing in court proceedings. Another way to resolve complaints about lawyers and paralegals is to use the Discrimination and Harassment Lawyers (DHC) program. The Complaints and Compliance Department (in our Customer Service Centre) is the first point of contact for complaints. Complaints and compliance confirm each complaint and assign a file number. The Law Society can deal with a number of issues related to the professional conduct of lawyers and paralegals. For example, we may deal with service-related matters; ethics or honesty; communications (including failure to respond to communications or report a transaction); Delay; misleading, rude and discriminatory behaviour; or non-billing or mismanagement of money.

The Law Society will also respond to information on unlicensed practitioners who provide legal services. For more information, see Illegal practitioners. Many complaints raise issues that are beyond our jurisdiction. In these cases, we may refer complainants to the Supreme Court`s assessment body, police, other supervisory authorities, or offer to seek advice from another lawyer or paralegal. In addition to filing a complaint with the Law Society, complainants may also consider the availability of other options, such as the civil and/or criminal justice system. For more information, you can read the Law Society`s reporting process to law enforcement and other regulatory bodies. With few exceptions, we will not investigate complaints received more than three years after the date of the issue complained of or the date the complainant became aware of it. If the complaint falls within our jurisdiction and raises issues of professional conduct, the Complaints and Compliance Department will refer the matter to the Professional Regulation Division for receipt and resolution. The complaints department also tries to resolve certain types of complaints.

You can submit your complaint in writing via the complaint form (described above). The Law Society of Upper Canada (CWSA) has the authority to deal with a range of ethical issues related to lawyers and paralegals licensed in Ontario. For example, they may deal with issues related to a lawyer`s or paralegal`s failure to respond to communications. failure to report a transaction; Delay; Misleading, rude and discriminatory behaviour and omitted or inappropriate management of money. You have 30 days from the time your lawyer sends you the invoice to begin the appraisal process. If you have more than 30 days, you must ask a judge for permission to begin the assessment process. Regardless of the seriousness of the complaint or your assessment of the merits of the complaint, you have a professional obligation to respond promptly to all communications from the Law Society and to continue to cooperate with the investigation (Rule 7.1-1 – Lawyers and Rule 9.01 – Paralegals). If you do not respond to or cooperate with the Law Society, in addition to any proceedings related to the original complaint, you may be subject to disciplinary proceedings as part of the Law Society`s summary hearing. The summary hearing procedure is an expedited hearing procedure before a single advisory body.

Your obligation to respond to our investigators includes the provision of confidential and/or solicitor-client privilege.