Complaints Review Commissioner
The Complaints Review Commissioner is an independent member of the public (a non-lawyer) who reviews Law Society staff decisions not to investigate a complaint because it is determined to be of no merit as well as staff decisions not to refer an investigated complaint to the Complaints Investigation Committee for its consideration.
The Complaints Review Commissioner is a non-lawyer who functions independently of the Law Society. A Complaints Commissioner has been in place since 1994. In 2010 the title was changed to Complaints Review Commissioner and the Commissioner’s jurisdiction was expanded. Read more on the role of the Complaints Review Commissioner.
The role of the Complaints Review Commissioner is to review the following:
A decision not to investigate a complaint because it is of no merit; and
A decision not to refer an investigated complaint to the Complaints Investigation Committee for its consideration.
Under the rules of the Society, the Chief Executive Officer, through staff lawyers, makes the decision on how to deal with a complaint. The Complaints Review Commissioner reviews these decisions and can either confirm the staff decision or:
where a decision has been made not to investigate a complaint, require that the complaint be investigated;
where staff has investigated a complaint and determined that the complaint is without substance, the lawyer has provided a satisfactory response, sent the lawyer a reminder letter or required the lawyer to take a certain course of action, direct the Law Society to refer the matter to the Complaints Investigation Committee for its consideration.
Members of the public who request that their complaint be reviewed by the Complaints Review Commissioner must do so within sixty days of receiving the staff lawyer’s decision. Complainants are not required to meet with the Commissioner. When the Complaints Review Commissioner receives a request for review, the Commissioner will contact the Society and obtain the client’s original complaint file. The Commissioner then makes a decision based on the information contained in the file.
Once the Complaints Review Commissioner has concluded the review of all available information and considered a case, he or she will write to the complainant to advise of the decision. If the Complaints Review Commissioner agrees that the Society should not investigate a complaint or that an investigated complaint has been dealt with appropriately, then this decision concludes the matter. If the Commissioner concludes that the Society should investigate a complaint that was determined to be of no merit, then a copy of the original letter of complaint will be sent to the lawyer complained about and the lawyer will be required to respond to the complaint in writing. If the Complaints Review Commissioner decides that a complaint that has been investigated should not have been resolved by staff, the complaint will be referred to the Complaints Investigation Committee for its consideration.
Once the Complaints Review Commissioner has made a decision, that is the end of the Commissioner’s involvement. There are no further reviews or appeals.
Any general questions about the Complaints Review Commissioner process should be directed to Grace Page, Discipline Paralegal at the Law Society offices.
All requests for review should be sent directly to the Complaints Review Commissioner. Please do not send requests to the Law Society office or send the Complaints Review Commissioner any new information not previously provided to the Society.
You may contact the Complaints Review Commissioner at:
P.O. Box 2234