Lawyers and conveyancers

The next steps to take if you are unable to resolve an issue with a lawyer, conveyancer or in relation to Legal Aid.

Who do I go to?

Who do I go to?

Complaints about lawyers

The New Zealand Law Society's Lawyer Complaint Service(external link) for complaints against current and former lawyers and law firms.

The NZLS Early Resolution Service(external link) and Standards Committee(external link) if you are not happy about the resolution of your complaint by your lawyer.

Complaints about Conveyancers

The New Zealand Society of Conveyancers Complaints Service(external link) for current and former conveyancers and conveyancing firms.

Complaints about Legal Aid

Contact your closest Legal Aid office(external link) if you don't agree with a decision about your application for legal aid. The Legal Aid Tribunal(external link) hears reviews of decisions on Legal Aid.

What kind of problems do they handle?

What kind of problems do they handle?

Lawyers Complaint Service

Can only handle complaints about:

  • lawyers' conduct such as a conflict of interest or if they’ve treated you unfairly
  • poor service such as:
    • not doing what they said they would do
    • unreasonable relay
    • giving you wrong or incomplete information
    • not keeping you informed about the work they’re doing for you
  • fees - usually only if the bill is for more than $2,000 (GST exclusive) and not more than 2 years old. However it may look at other bills in special circumstances
  • failure to comply with orders made by a Lawyers Standards Committee or the Legal Complaints Review Officer.

Conveyancers Complaint Service

Can only handle complaints:

  • about fees above $500.00 (excluding GST)
  • made within 2 years of the billing date.

Otherwise the service can handle similar complaints as those above for lawyers.

Unresolved complaints against lawyers and conveyancers

Where complaints cannot be resolved by the Standards Committee or Resolutions Sevice, they can be referred to the Legal Complaints Review Officer at the Ministry of Justice or the Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal(external link).

Legal Aid

The Legal Aid Tribunal(external link) hears reviews based on whether the legal aid decision is unreasonable, wrong in law, or both.

What do I need to do?

What do I need to do?

  1. Contact your lawyer or conveyancer first to try to resolve the problem using their complaints process.
  2. Contact the Complaints service for lawyers or conveyancers if you can’t resolve your complaint directly with the lawyer or conveyancer. Follow their complaints process to make your complaint:
  3. Finally, if you don’t resolve the matter through the Complaints service, and you aren’t happy with the decision of the Standards Committee, you may apply to have this decision reviewed by the Legal Complaints Review Officer. Follow the process set out on the Ministry of Justice’s website(external link).

Legal aid

  1. Contact your nearest legal aid office(external link) if you want to get a legal aid decision reconsidered.
  2. Follow the process for Making an application to the Legal Aid Tribunal on the Ministry of Justice’s website(external link).
What else do I need to consider?

What else do I need to consider?

Both the Lawyers and Conveyancers' complaints services are free to consumers.

Making a complaint to the Legal Complaints Review Officer

You must make a complaint within 30 working days of the Standards Committee’s decision. There is a $50 filing fee.

The LCRO may confirm, modify, or reverse any orders made by a standards committee. A standards committee can order compensation to be paid to you.

Where can I get more information?

Where can I get more information?

Lawyers Complaints Service

Provides information about the Lawyers Complaints Service including how to make a complaint. 

Visit the website (external link)
Phone: 0800 261 801
Email: complaints@lawsociety.org.nz

New Zealand Society of Conveyancers

Information about the conveyancing profession in New Zealand including regulation and complaints. 

Visit the website (external link)
Phone: 04 974 6308
Email: info@nzsconveyancing.co.nz

Ministry of Justice (Legal Complaints Review Officer)

Provides information about the role of the Legal Complaints Review Officer and how to make an application.

Visit the website (external link)
Phone: 0800 367 6838
Email: lcro@justice.govt.nz

Ministry of Justice (Legal Aid)

Provides information about Legal Aid and how to contact your closest office.

Visit the website(external link)
Phone: 0800 253 425 (0800 2 LEGAL AID)

Ministry of Justice-Legal Aid Tribunal

Provides information about the tribunal including how to contact the tribunal and how to make an application.

Visit the website(external link)
Phone: 04 462 6660
Email: tribunals@justice.govt.nz