Make a complaint about a legal aid lawyer

If you are not happy with the standard of legal services you receive you should first try to talk about the issue with your legal aid lawyer. Legal aid lawyers must give you written information about how they handle client complaints and are obliged to deal with complaints about their services promptly and fairly.

If you have talked to your legal aid lawyer about the issue and you are not satisfied with the response, or your concern cannot be raised with your lawyer, you may contact us about your concerns.

Complaints about your legal aid lawyer must be made to us in writing. The complaints form is available for this purpose. Please complete all sections of the form, and give as much detail as possible, including specific details and any evidence of your complaint.

We cannot investigate a complaint until we have enough information from you and the legal aid lawyer.

Fill in the legal aid complaints form:

Make a complaint about a legal provider [PDF, 1 MB]

Send your completed complaint form to us by email or post to:


Postal address:
Legal Aid Providers
National Service Delivery
Ministry of Justice
Level 3, Justice Centre
19 Aitken Street
Wellington 6011
(or SX10088, Wellington)

If you have trouble writing your complaint down, please contact your nearest legal aid office for help with making a complaint.

Complaints do not impact the outcome of your case, appeal proceedings, prison sentences, decisions on legal aid files such as change of lawyer or legal aid repayment obligations.

The complaints process

Once we receive your complaint we will make an initial assessment and decide whether your concerns can be resolved at an early stage or whether they need to be further investigated. We will contact you if we need more information.

The Ministry also reserves the right not to continue with an investigation of a concern.

If a complaint is investigated, we look at the information provided by you, the lawyer’s response, and any other information we have to determine whether the lawyer’s conduct was reasonable and complied with their professional, statutory and contractual obligations. We decide whether the complaint should be substantiated or not substantiated. If a complaint is substantiated, the consequences for the lawyer will depend on the seriousness of the complaint.

Find out more about the complaints management process and investigation stages in the complaints management policy

Complaints to the New Zealand Law Society

You can also complain to the New Zealand Law Society about the performance of a legal aid lawyer if you feel they have breached their professional obligations. The New Zealand Law Society will inform the Ministry if it upholds a complaint.

New Zealand Law Society website(external link) 

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