The New Zealand Law Society is responsible for regulating lawyers who practice law in New Zealand and operates the Lawyers Complaints Service. The Service handles all complaints about:
All lawyers must have procedures for handling complaints and they must tell their clients about those procedures before they commence work for the client.
New Zealand lawyers are required to act at all times in accordance with the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008. These outline the obligations lawyers owe to clients. The obligations are subject to other overriding duties, including duties to the courts and to the justice system.
The Rules are binding on all lawyers and provide guidance around the boundaries within which a lawyer may practise. Within these boundaries, each lawyers needs to be guided by his or her own sense of professional responsibility. The Law Society’s Ethics Committee provides guidance to lawyers on the application or interpretation of the Rules.
The Rules are based on the fundamental obligations of lawyers, which are set out in section 4 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006. These are:
Whatever legal services your lawyer provides, he or she must:
If your lawyer does not meet these standards you can raise the matter directly with him or her through their internal complaints process. If this does not resolve matters, you can consider laying a complaint with the Lawyers Complaints Service.
Advise us of your concern: use the online Concerns Form, and a Legal Standards Officer will ring to talk to you.
Contact the Lawyers Complaints Service: The Lawyers Complaints Service will provide you with assistance and information in relation to complaints. This includes information about your rights and options if you are unsure whether you have grounds for making a complaint. You can contact the Lawyers Complaints service on 0800 261 801 or by emailing email@example.com.