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When a complaint enters the Conduct Process, a staff lawyer (Conduct Counsel) will be assigned to review it in accordance with section 53 of the Legal Profession Act, Rule 85 of the Rules of the Law Society of Alberta and the Conduct Protocol.
Conduct Counsel does a thorough analysis of all information relating to the complaint. This is a time-intensive process and complaints are generally addressed in the order in which they are received. You will receive periodic updates on the status of the matter.
When the review of a complaint is complete, Conduct Counsel may:
- Dismiss the complaint if the threshold test is not met; or
- Refer the matter to the Practice Review Committee and/or the Conduct Committee.
The Practice Review Committee does a general assessment of a lawyer’s practice. This includes addressing any practice management issues such as ensuring the lawyer has a robust system to check for and prevent conflicts of interest.
The Conduct Committee, made up of the Law Society’s Board of Directors (also known as Benchers) and lawyers who volunteer their services to the Law Society, decide the next step in the Conduct Process. The Conduct Committee may direct a hearing, dismiss the complaint, direct further investigation, or direct an alternate form of intervention such as a Mandatory Conduct Advisory.
If the Conduct Committee directs a hearing, and if the lawyer is found by the Hearing Committee to have committed conduct deserving of sanction, disciplinary outcomes can include a:
- and/or the responsibility to pay for the costs of the hearing.
The Law Society’s disciplinary process does not award compensation.
Appealing the Dismissal of your Complaint
If you believe the dismissal of your complaint was unreasonable, you can appeal the decision.