Complaints management

One way that we ensure the quality of legal aid services is through investigating complaints about the provision of legal aid services. We assess all complaints received about legal aid lawyers through a complaints management process.

Find out more in our complaints management policy [PDF, 1.4 MB]

The complaints process

If a complaint is made against you, we will notify you in writing and seek your response to the allegations made by the complainant.

Some complaints may not move onto the investigation stage and may be resolved through early resolution.

In investigating a complaint, we will consider:

  • the written complaint
  • any comments from the legal aid client or the person who referred the complaint
  • your response
  • any supporting documents provided e.g. invoices or correspondence
  • information available on our database
  • any other relevant information.

Complaint outcomes

Our investigation will determine whether the complaint should be substantiated or not substantiated. A complaint may be substantiated if there is sufficient evidence that you have breached one or more of your statutory, professional or contractual obligations.

Where a complaint is substantiated, any consequences will take into consideration whether you have:

  • given a reasonable explanation
  • outlined any mitigating factors
  • taken steps to remedy the situation
  • taken steps to prevent any further breaches
  • had any previous complaints

We will notify you and the complainant in writing of the outcome of the investigation and give reasons for the decision.

Complaint review

If you are not happy with the outcome of the complaint, you may request a review of the decision within 10 days of our notification being sent. The complainant has the right to request a review from the Office of the Ombudsman.

Complaints to the New Zealand Law Society

Clients and others can also complain about the performance of a legal aid lawyer to the New Zealand Law Society (external link)

The Law Society will tell the Ministry if it upholds a complaint.

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