To protect the public, law societies set and enforce comprehensive rules and regulations that legal professionals must follow. Law societies receive and investigate complaints and may impose discipline in cases when legal professionals fail to follow the rules.
The Federation of Law Societies of Canada, together with Canada’s law societies, has developed consistent national standards for how law societies handle complaints and discipline matters. The standards help ensure members of the public are treated promptly, fairly and openly when they make a complaint against a legal professional.
Each law society sets the rules and processes for handling complaints and discipline in its jurisdiction. The National Discipline Standards strengthen and harmonize the handling of complaints and discipline across the country.
The National Discipline Standards help to ensure complaints are resolved quickly and transparently by setting timelines for investigation and adjudication, requiring reasons for decisions and including public participation in the process. The standards also ensure the process is accessible and that adjudicators, staff and volunteers are fully trained and qualified.
Implemented by all law societies in January 2015, the standards are aspirational and evolve in response to emerging regulatory needs and priorities.
Complaints and discipline
The Federation of Law Societies of Canada does not regulate legal professionals.
Law societies have processes in place to receive, review and investigate complaints about the legal professionals they regulate. In certain cases, the complaints may lead to a disciplinary hearing before a law society tribunal or panel. Law societies can impose a range of disciplinary measures, including reprimands, fines, practice conditions or restrictions, suspension from practice or disbarment.
Making a complaint about a legal professional
To learn more about each law society’s specific rules of conduct applicable to members of the legal profession licensed to practice in their jurisdiction, click on one of the following links:
- Law Society of British Columbia
- Law Society of Alberta
- Law Society of Saskatchewan
- Law Society of Manitoba
- Law Society of Ontario
- Barreau du Québec
- Chambre des notaires du Québec
- Law Society of New Brunswick
- Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society
- Law Society of Prince Edward Island
- Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador
- Law Society of Yukon
- Law Society of the Northwest Territories
- Law Society of Nunavut