Just under half of complaints made by clients
Just under half the complaints made to the Lawyers Complaints Service in 2014/15 were made by clients or former clients of the lawyer concerned.
Information included in the annual report on the regulatory functions of the New Zealand Law Society for the year to 30 June 2015 shows that trusts and estates were the main area of law where complaints arose, followed by family law and property law.
During the year to 30 June 2015 there were 1611 complaints received by the Lawyers Complaints Service. This was down on the 1630 complaints received in the previous year.
The highest number of complaints related to negligence or incompetence. Next was inadequate reporting or communications, followed by overcharging.
During the year, 1529 complaints were closed, with a decision to take no further action in 1137 of these (74.3%), 143 (9.3%) were resolved after being referred to negotiation, conciliation or mediation and 64 (4.2%) were withdrawn, discontinued or settled. The remaining 12.2% of complaints closed resulted in orders or decisions by lawyers standards committees.
The report notes that 41.3% of all complaints closed were concluded through the Early Resolution Service, an initiative established in early 2013 and aimed at achieving a resolution by negotiation.
Origin of complaints lodged with Lawyers Complaints Service, year to 30 June
|Origin||2015||% 2015||2014||% 2014|
|Client - other side||279||17.3%||309||19.0%|
|NZLS standards committee own motion||122||7.6%||97||6.0%|
Main areas of law in which complaint arose, year to 30 June 2015
|Trusts and estates||21.0%|
|Banking and finance||1.3%|
Type of complaint, year to 30 June 2015 (more than one order might be made per complaint)
|Breach of Rules of Conduct and Client Care||325|
|Failure to follow instructions||248|
|Other conduct issues||190|
|Conflict of interest||182|
|Other service issues||120|
|Acting without instruction||88|
|Refusing to hand over documents||77|
|Financial assurance issues||61|
|Improper conduct in Court||56|
|Breach of confidentiality||53|
|Not complying with Lawyers and Conveyancers Act/Regulations||46|
|Obstructing legal regulatory process||38|
|Breach of undertaking||22|
|Lack of supervision||20|
|Failure to comply with an order||15|
|Related to nominee company||15|
|Failing to pay instructed third party||11|
|Failure to pay third party||7|
|Practising outside of practising certificate parameters||2|
|Not admitted to practice||2|
Last updated on the 10th November 2016