How Do I Make a Complaint?
Once it has been determined that the Law Society has the jurisdiction to review the conduct of a lawyer and a complaints form is received by our office, a copy of your letter of complaint will be forwarded to the lawyer. The lawyer will be asked to respond within 10 days to the Law Society to explain the circumstances that resulted in the complaint. If a response from the lawyer is not forthcoming, the Law Society may initiate disciplinary proceedings on the lawyer's failure to reply.
We take all complaints seriously and attempt to deal with them as expeditiously as possible. We would advise that the discipline process of the Law Society is not confidential. Hearings are open to the public and materials received by the Law Society will be forwarded to the lawyer. If you have any concerns about the subsequent use of these materials, please contact the Law Society to determine whether privilege or confidentiality requirements may apply.
Once the lawyer's response is received, it will be evaluated by the Complaints Counsel and, in most cases, a copy will be forwarded to you for further comment. We appreciate receiving your response within 14 days to avoid delays in the handling of the complaint.
After this exchange of correspondence has been completed, the Complaints Counsel will review the file material and determine what, if any, further steps are required. In some cases, the complaint may involve some unfulfilled task or other problem that can be readily dealt with by the lawyers. In these circumstances, the Law Society may attempt to resolve the problem through mediation.
After the necessary information has been obtained and considered, the Complaints Counsel will take one of the following courses action:
(i) Forward your complaint to either the Discipline, Professional Standards or Ethics Committee for further review and direction.
(ii) Direct no further action as your complaint does not raise an issue of conduct or competency with respect to the lawyer.
You will be given the opportunity to apply for a review of the Complaints Counsel's decision not to take further action. If you seek a review, your file will be forwarded to the Complainants' Review Committee for their further review and directions.
Complainants' Review is the procedure by which a complainant may appeal a decision of 'no further action' by Complaints Counsel, the Professional Standards Chair/Vice Chair or the Discipline Conduct Investigation Committee. The Complainants' Review Committee may be any Bencher, or in some cases a non-Bencher lawyer.
Upon review of the complaint, the Complainants' Review Committee will take one of the following courses of actions:
(i) Confirm the decision of 'no further action'.
(ii) Forward your complaint to either the Discipline, Professional Standards or Ethics Committee for further review and direction.
To request an appeal of a decision of 'no further action' please apply in writing within 30 days of the date of the decision.
The authority and mandate of the Complainants' Review Committee can be found in Section 43 of The Legal Professions Act, 1990 and Rule 302 of the Rules of the Law Society of Saskatchewan.