New Zealand Law Society - How to make a complaint

How to make a complaint

  1. Use the lawyer’s procedures

    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.

  2. Raise your concern with the Early Resolution Service

    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 Professional Standards Officer will telephone you and explain the process.

    Use the online Concerns Form to contact us. You can also phone 0800 261 801 or email

  3. Lodge a formal complaint with the Lawyers Complaints Service

    If you decide you want to lodge a formal complaint, you must:

    • Do this in writing;
    • Complete our complaint form (PDF);
    • Agree to the disclosure of your name to the person or firm you are making the complaint about.

    Where to send your complaint

    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


    No Charge

    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.