All lawyers must have procedures for handling complaints and they must tell clients about those procedures before commencing work for the client.
If you are not satisfied with the way a lawyer has handled a legal matter in which you are involved, you should first try to use the lawyer’s procedures to resolve the issue. If you were not given information about the procedures, or no longer have it, ask the lawyer to give you information about their internal complaints procedure.
Lawyers are required to deal with any complaint promptly and fairly. If taking your complaint to the lawyer proves unsatisfactory, or is inappropriate, the Complaints Service may be able to help you resolve it or to make a formal complaint.
If you have already tried to sort out the problem with the lawyer and you are still not satisfied, contact the Complaints Service. It can provide reasonable assistance to any person wishing to make a complaint.
If you and the lawyer you are complaining about are willing to try to resolve matters by negotiation, conciliation or mediation, your complaint may be referred to the Early Resolution Service. If so, a Legal Standards Officer will telephone you and explain the process.
If you decide you want to lodge a formal complaint, you must do this in writing. Our complaint form (PDF) is designed to help you provide all the required information, but you do not need to use it.
If you don’t use the form, you must:
Your complaint and any supporting information should be sent to:
Lawyers Complaints Service
PO Box 5041, Lambton Quay, Wellington 6145
Level 4, 17 Whitmore Street, Wellington
There is no charge for making a complaint to the Lawyers Complaints Service. However, if you want professional assistance with your complaint, such as advice from a lawyer or accountant, you will have to pay for that.
Your complaint will be acknowledged and checked to see that all required information has been included and that it is valid.