You can contact the Lawyers Complaints service on 0800 261 801.
The Lawyers Complaints Service can provide you with information about your rights and options if you are unsure whether you have grounds for making a complaint.
The Law Society is responsible for regulating lawyers who practise law in New Zealand. It operates the Lawyers Complaints Service. The Service handles all complaints about:
Complaints about former lawyers/incorporated law firms can only be made if the conduct complained about occurred when the person concerned was a lawyer.
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 rules tackling bullying and harassment
New rules governing the behaviour of lawyers, with an emphasis on tackling bullying and harassment, came into force on 1 July 2021.
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 lawyer 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 in certain circumstances.
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 lodging a concern or laying a complaint with the Lawyers Complaints Service.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advise us of your concern: use the online Concerns Form, and a Legal Standards Officer will ring to talk to you.