Filing a Complaint and/or Making a Claim Against a Lawyer

If you feel as though you have suffered loss of damage from the legal services you were give from a lawyer, there are things that you can do to support your situation:

Making a Complaint

Once you fill out, date, and sign the form, you need to return it by mail, courier, or fax to the Law Society of Alberta:

Attention: Complaints Intake Officer
The Law Society of Alberta
500, 919 – 11 Avenue SW Calgary, Alberta T2R 1P3
Phone: (403) 229-4700
Toll Free: 1-800-661-9003
Fax: (403) 228-1728

What Happens After Submitting a Complaint

Click on the tabs below to learn about the complaint process:

What Happens After Submitting a Complaint:

  • An Intake Officer will review it and, if it falls under the Conduct Department, they will send it to a Complaints Resolution Officer.
  • The Complaints Resolution Officer may talk to the lawyer if the Officer finds that the lawyer’s wrongdoing was minor and the Officer can take steps to fix the problem.
  • The Complaints Resolution Officer can also take the problem through the formal complaints process if the lawyer breached the lawyers’ Code of Conduct and the complaint cannot be solved, or if you feel that the problem has not been In such a case, the lawyer has to write a letter to the Law Society of Alberta responding to your complaint.
  • If a Formal Complaints Reviewer finds that the lawyer did not violate the Code of Conduct, your complaint will be dismissed and you will receive a written letter explaining the dismissal decision and information on how to appeal this decision.
  • If the Formal Complaints Reviewer needs more information, they may interview you and any witnesses, and request additional documents.

Three Possible Outcomes:

1. The complaint is dismissed

*If your complaint is dismissed, you can appeal the dismissal. The reasons to appeal the decision must be any of these:

  • inadequate review,
  • not considering important facts,
  • not applying the Code of Conduct or The Rules of the Law Society of Alberta properly,
  • having new relevant evidence that was not available before the complaint was dismissed.

The Appeal Panel’s decision is final and cannot be appealed further.

2. The lawyer can be ordered to have a mandatory meeting with a Law Society Board Member (called a “Bencher”).

The lawyer might have a hearing (like a trial) in front of a committee of Law Society Board members (Benchers).

3. The lawyer might have a hearing (like a trial) in front of a committee of Law Society Board members (Benchers).

Possible Consequences for the Lawyer:

  • The lawyer might be convicted and sanctioned with a reprimand, fine, suspension, disbarment and costs of the hearing.
  • The lawyer can appeal this decision.
  • A conviction will be listed on the lawyer’s record at the Law Society of Alberta, and, upon a written request, can be disclosed to anyone.

 

Remedies Available to You:

The complaints process to the Law Society of Alberta is only to discipline lawyers and a complaint will not result in a financial compensation to you. A complaint will also not result in resolving any issues with your immigration status.

You will not receive money unless you make a financial claim to the Alberta Lawyer’s Insurance Association and an examiner finds that the lawyer was negligent and that you suffered a financial loss.

Making A Financial Claim/Suing the Lawyer

Click on the images below to learn how to make a financial claim to the Alberta Lawyers Insurance Association (ALIA), or what to do if you move forward with suing the lawyer: