2. Complain to the Law Society
If you can't agree on a solution, you can make a complaint to the NZ Law Society. They can also give you information if you are concerned about your rights.
Lawyers complaints service(external link) — NZ Law Society
Issues that NZ Law Society can hear complaints on include:
- Lawyer/conveyancer behaviour, eg treating you unfairly, or a conflict of interest.
- Bad service, eg delays, not doing what they said they would, not responding to calls or emails, giving you incomplete or wrong information.
- Fees, but only if your bill is for more than $2,000 for lawyers and billed under two years ago.
- Failing to follow your orders, eg going against what you told them you wanted.
You can talk to the law society whether you paid for the lawyer yourself or through legal aid.
What you can expect
After you fill in a complaint form, a Standards Committee will look at your case.
The Committee will recommend a dispute resolution process. Dispute resolution options include:
- Mediation/negotiation — this avoids a hearing and can be a faster, simpler process. You can choose to have mediation/negotiation by filling in a concerns forms.
Raise a concern form(external link) — NZ Law Society
- Formal inquiry — if the committee doesn't think mediation or negotiation is an option, your case might be settled by the Standards Committee after an inquiry. This could involve a hearing.
Orders they can make
If the Standards Committee thinks the lawyer has done something wrong, it can:
- decide what the lawyer must do to put it right, ie apologise, pay compensation (up to $25,000), reduce or refund your legal fees, pay a fine, fix any mistakes at their own cost.
- send the case to the NZ Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal if it is very serious.
How your complaint is processed(external link) — NZ Law Society