Initiating a Complaint About a Lawyer
The complaints process is initiated when complainants contact the Law Society of Alberta's Complaints Intake Officers by telephone, mail, fax or email.
The Law Society of Alberta's Complaints Department does not generally assist with fee disputes. Its fee mediation process is available in very limited circumstances. The Law Society refers fee disputes to the Review/Assessment Office at the Court of Queen’s Bench.
The following form is available to initiate the complaints process.
If you are complaining about more than one lawyer, a separate form is required for each one.
Complaint about a lawyer:
Lawyer Complaint Form
Complaint about someone else’s lawyer:
The Law Society cannot intervene in the conduct of another party’s lawyer unless the lawyer has breached the Law Society of Alberta's Code of Conduct which all lawyers must follow. What may appear as improper conduct to someone who is involved in a dispute may well be conduct which does not breach those rules. In most cases, lawyers are acting in the best interests of their clients and in accordance with their clients' instructions. Lawyers are under a duty to do so and to keep information and instructions received from their clients confidential. The Law Society cannot interfere with these duties.
If your complaint arises out of Court proceedings, please note that Court proceedings are, by their very nature, adversarial. The issues are often very personal and unsettling and emotions can run high. One side may be unhappy with the other side's lawyer. However, it is important to realize that matters involving Court proceedings are regulated by the Rules of Court, as well as by the general practice of the Courts. The Rules of Court are not set by the Law Society, but by the provincial government. If one side is not "playing by the rules", the other side usually has a remedy through the Court. In most cases, it is for the Court to decide on the conduct of Court proceedings. The Law Society cannot interfere with the legal process.
For the above reasons, it is essential that you discuss your complaint with your own lawyer, if you have one, to determine whether your lawyer shares your view that a complaint to the Law Society is appropriate. If you do not have a lawyer, or, after discussing your complaint with your lawyer, you still wish to submit a complaint, you may do so by completing the following:
Lawyer Complaint Form
Referral to a Complaints Resolution Officer
The Intake Officers screen phone calls and written inquiries to determine if the complaint falls under the Conduct Department mandate. If so, it will be referred to a Complaints Resolution Officer for further consideration. If the complaint falls outside the mandate, the Intake Officers will advise complainants of alternative resources to assist with their concerns.
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