If our Information Assessment Counsel determines that your matter raises a significant regulatory risk, your matter will be referred to the discipline process. It then becomes a complaint.
A staff lawyer (Conduct Counsel) will be assigned to conduct a thorough analysis of all information relating to the complaint in accordance with section 53 of the Legal Profession Act. This is a time-intensive process and complaints are addressed in the order in which they are received.
You will receive a periodic update on the status of the matter.
Upon completion of the review of the complaint, Conduct Counsel may:
- Dismiss the complaint if he or she is of the opinion that there is no reasonable prospect that a hearing panel would find the lawyer guilty of conduct deserving of sanction. In this case, Conduct Counsel will issue a decision with reasons.
- Refer the matter back to the early intervention process if it is apparent that, although there was a concern which initiated the referral to the discipline process, that concern has been alleviated and the early intervention approach is more appropriate.
- Refer the matter to a Conduct Committee Panel to decide the next step in the discipline process.The Conduct Committee Panel may issue citations (charges) and direct the lawyer to a hearing.However, the Conduct Committee Panel also has the authority to dismiss the complaint or direct further investigation.
When a Conduct Committee Panel issues citations, the Law Society’s Hearing Tribunal Office will convene a panel of three adjudicators to hear the matter. The hearing is conducted like a trial with similar rules of evidence.
If a lawyer is found guilty of the citations, disciplinary outcomes can include fines, suspension, disbarments and the responsibility to pay costs.
Appealing Dismissal of Complaints
If you believe the dismissal of your complaint was unreasonable, you can appeal the decision. Disagreeing with the decision to dismiss your complaint is not grounds for an appeal.