If a problem arises - Victorian Legal Services Board + Commissioner

If a problem arises

If you are unhappy with your lawyer or the legal costs billed to you, you have rights and options for how to address your concerns. You should always address any concerns you have as soon as you become aware of them.

Talk to your lawyer

Often the best thing to do is to speak to your lawyer about your concerns. If your lawyer knows why you are not happy, they may be able to fix the problem quickly.

Talk to the lawyer’s managing partner

If you cannot speak to your lawyer, your lawyer’s managing partner may be able to help you resolve your concerns.

Change lawyers

You can take your legal matter to another lawyer. You should note, however, that your current lawyer can keep your file until you have paid their bill. If you have a ‘no-win no –fee’ agreement and you change lawyers, you may have to pay any legal fees incurred to that time. Check your costs agreement or call us for more information.

Ask us for help

We can help you with suggestions on how you can resolve your concerns with your lawyer. We can also explain your rights and how you can make a complaint.

For further information, download our fact sheets:

Act quickly on complaints

If you want to make a complaint, you should act quickly. The law imposes time limits on making a complaint.

For complaints about legal costs or bills, you have:

·         30 days to dispute your costs if you have received an itemised bill, and

·         60 days to dispute your costs if you have received a lump sum bill.

Please note that your lawyer can sue you after 30 days for an unpaid bill. We cannot help you with your complaint if you’ve been sued.

For complaints about behaviour or quality of service, you have:

·         3 years to make a complaint.

We may be able to extend the above timeframes, but only if certain circumstances exist. Please contact our office to discuss.

You should speak to us before you write a letter of complaint or fill in a complaint form. We can often help you without the need for you to spend the time putting your concerns in writing. Please note, however, that we cannot give you legal advice.

Contact us to discuss your concerns.

What are we not able to deal with?

There are some complaints which we are not able to deal with. These include where:

  • the matter is before the courts, including where your lawyer has sued you
  • the complaint is about certain non-legal services provided by lawyers (147KB PDF)
  • the complaint is about a licensed conveyancer (these complaints should be made to Consumer Affairs Victoria. For more information on complaints about conveyancers, see the Lawyers and conveyancing page and the Consumer Affairs Victoria website.)
  • the complaint is about a Judge, Magistrate or court staff (these complaints should be made directly to the court involved).

If we are not able to help you with your problem, we will usually be able to offer suggestions on where you can get further information or other assistance you may wish to try.

 

Last modified December 7, 2017.