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Complaints About Lawyers

The Law Society of Saskatchewan is responsible for regulating the legal profession in Saskatchewan and setting professional standards that lawyers are required to meet. When a complaint about a lawyer is received, the Law Society’s Professional Responsibility Counsel can review the matter and determine how the matter will be dealt with.

Lawyers must act with integrity. In fact, integrity is at the core of the rules set out in the Code of Professional Conduct. For example, information about a client must be held in strict confidence. Lawyers must be competent to deal with cases they take on and keep their clients well informed. They should ensure that matters are dealt with in a timely fashion. Conflict of interests must be avoided. Fees and disbursements must be fair and reasonable, and they must be disclosed in a timely fashion.

Common complaints to the Law Society’s Professional Responsibility Counsel include complaints about quality of service, conflict of interest, confidentiality and withdrawal of services. The Law Society does not deal with disputes over legal fees – these are deal with by way of assessment.

Complaints must be in writing and can be completed using the online complaints form. The complaints form includes general contact information about you and the lawyer you are complaining about. You will be asked for information about your relationship with the lawyer and the nature of your complaint. You will need to provide details about your complaint and include copies of any related documents. You will also be asked about the type of resolution you are looking for.

It is important to note that the discipline process is not confidential. Hearings are open to the public and material provided will be forwarded to the lawyer. If you have concerns about confidentiality you should contact the Law Society for more information.

Your complaint will be reviewed and forwarded to a Professional Responsibility Counsel. The Professional Responsibility Counsel will determine whether the matter should be investigated. If your complaint is going to be investigated, the lawyer will receive a copy of the complaint. The lawyer is asked to respond within 10 days, but reasonable extensions of time to respond will generally be allowed. If a lawyer refuses to respond appropriately to the Law Society, they may face disciplinary action. Generally you will be provided a copy of the lawyer’s response and again have an opportunity to comment.

If the matter is not resolved at this point, or in some cases, through subsequent mediation, the complaint may be…

  • forwarded to the appropriate committee (Conduct Investigation, Professional Standards or Ethics), or
  • dismissed, as no issue of conduct or competency was found

If your complaint is dismissed you can ask for the matter to be reviewed by the Complaints Review Committee. This request must be in writing and made within 30 days of the date of the decision.

If, after investigation, a complaint is determined to be well-founded the lawyer may be disciplined. Discipline may include a reprimand, fine or penalty, suspension or disbarment (meaning they can no longer practice law). The lawyer can also be required to comply with certain practice conditions, such as…

  • not doing particular types of legal work
  • taking additional professional training
  • having a third party oversee trust accounts
  • taking treatment for drug or alcohol abuse

The Law Society cannot provide with you compensation for losses you may have suffered due to the conduct of your lawyer. They also cannot provide legal advice. In some cases individuals may wish to get the opinion of another lawyer regarding other options that may be available.

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PLEA gratefully acknowledges our primary core funder the Law Foundation of Saskatchewan for their continuing and generous support of our organization.