The Law Society of Nunavut takes every complaint seriously. It processes the complaint according to the law and the applicable rules. The Law Society of Nunavut follows the steps below, and will keep you informed of the complaint process as it moves forward. Generally speaking, the more serious or complex the concerns, the longer they will take to be finally resolved.
- Intake - The Law Society staff can give you a complaint form and help you write down your complaint on the complaint form. Once you write down your complaint and sign it, the Law Society staff refers your complaint to the chair of the Discipline Committee.
The chair of the Discipline Committee reviews all complaints. They evaluate whether the law allows the Discipline Committee to review your complaint.
- Early Resolution - Some problems are caused by a misunderstanding or other circumstances that are not professional misconduct. These can usually be identified and resolved relatively early, and the chair of the Discipline Committee may:
- conclude the complaint with no further action; or
- they may offer advice and direction to the lawyer about ways that the lawyer could handle things better in the future.
If the chair’s decision is one of the above, the Law Society Deputy Secretary can help you find other resources for help.
- Hearings - When professional misconduct is in question, the chair of the Discipline Committee decides that a hearing will take place, either before a Sole Inquirer or, for very serious matters, by a formal Committee of Inquiry.
You, the lawyer, or other involved persons may be asked to provide additional information. In a hearing by Committee of Inquiry this will happen formally, like a trial in court. In either type of hearing, the lawyer is entitled to know all the details of the complaint and provide a full response.
- Penalties - If a Sole Inquirer decides that a lawyer is guilty of unprofessional conduct, the penalties may include a reprimand, a fine and costs of the hearing.
If a Committee of Inquiry decides that a lawyer is guilty of unprofessional conduct, the penalties may include a reprimand, a fine, practice conditions or restrictions, suspension or disbarment.
- Appeal or Judicial Review - The Law Society itself can decide to appeal an outcome from discipline proceedings. If you are unhappy with the Law Society's decisions about your complaint, appeal or judicial review options may be available. These may be discussed with the Law Society and, if you wish, with an independent lawyer of your choice.
Need more information?
Every complaint is reviewed according to the Legal Profession Act and the Rules of the Law Society of Nunavut. The LSN staff will give you a copy of the important sections when they receive your complaint.
On request, the Law Society will also provide additional information, such as the rules of professional conduct for lawyers, a lawyer's public record or standing with the Law Society, how to file a complaint in the proper form, or the steps involved when a complaint is reviewed.