In any service industry, complaints are inevitable. However, many complaints are due to miscommunication or misunderstanding. When we receive a complaint about an ELINZ member, we work with the member and support them, and we work with the member of the public. Our key goal is to resolve the complaint fairly and efficiently and to allow both parties to move on. We may make suggestions to the member on how to avoid the situation again, and we may also need to educate (or re-educate) the member of the public. Expulsion from ELINZ is only considered after a fair and open dispute resolution process and as an absolute last resort.
Any person needing the assistance of our organisation to help resolve a dispute involving an ELINZ member is welcome to make written contact with either the President or the Secretary firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here you will find information about making a complaint about a member of ELINZ.
Please note that we can only accept complaints involving current members of ELINZ about alleged breaches of our Code of Conduct. We are unable to accept complaints about former members or non-members.
If you are considering making a complaint about a member of ELINZ, it is important to understand that our members consist of both lawyers and advocates.
If you believe the member you wish to complain about is a lawyer (i.e. a practising Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand), you can search the register of lawyers to check: https://www.lawsociety.org.nz/for-the-community/search-register-of-lawyers
If you wish to make a complaint about a lawyer member, you can lodge your complaint with the New Zealand Law Society and/or with ELINZ. Further information about making a complaint to the law society can be found here:
You can also forward your complaint to ELINZ. Our complaint process and form are set out below.
Although a number of our advocate members have a law degree (i.e. are enrolled Barristers and Solicitors of the High Court of New Zealand), they are not practising as lawyers, so are not subject to the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.
If the member you wish to complain about is an advocate (i.e. is not on the register of lawyers), you can forward your complaint to ELINZ. Our complaint process and form are set out below.
As a first step, we encourage you to attempt to address your complaint with the lawyer or advocate directly.
When we receive a complaint about a member of ELINZ, we work with the member of the public and we work with the member.
Our key goal is to resolve the complaint fairly and efficiently and to allow both parties to move on. We may make suggestions to the member on how to avoid the situation again, and we may also provide information and education to the member of the public.
If you wish to make a complaint about a member of ELINZ, please complete the form at the bottom of this page, or alternatively, email us (with all relevant details) at email@example.com
Enforcement procedures and sanctions for infringements.
For the purposes of this Annexure “professional misconduct” means:
(a) conviction of a criminal offence for which the member is liable to a sentence of imprisonment;
(b) conduct that would reasonably be regarded by members in good standing as disgraceful or dishonourable, or that may bring the Institute or the legal or advocacy professions in to disrepute;
(c) infringement of the Code of Conduct;
(d) adjudication as bankrupt
All matters of professional misconduct or infringement of the Code of Conduct shall be dealt with as follows.
- Any complaint against a member shall be referred by the Secretary to the President who, if satisfied that further action is warranted, shall refer it to a subcommittee of the Executive that he/she forms for the purpose – consisting of three Executive members including a Chair nominated by the President.
- That subcommittee shall inquire in to the complaint, give the member complained about an opportunity to be heard in writing, and report to the Executive with a recommendation as to what action, if any, should be taken on the complaint.
- The Executive may:
(a) lay a charge of professional misconduct or infringement of the Code of Conduct; or
(b) direct that the parties explore the possibility of resolving the complaint by negotiation, conciliation or mediation; or
(c) decide to take no action on the complaint.
- 4. If the Executive lays a charge of professional misconduct or infringement of the Code of Conduct against a member, the Secretary shall forthwith:
(a) advise the member in writing of the charge with particulars;
(b) provide the member with copies of all documents and material relevant to the charge;
(c) give the member not less than 1 months’ notice of the date, time and place of the Executive meeting at which the charge will be heard;
(d) invite the member to provide the Executive with evidence and/or submissions at least 1 week before the hearing.
- At the hearing the Executive shall provide the member a full opportunity to be heard in person, or by counsel or advocate.
- If the Executive directs that the parties explore the possibility of resolution of the complaint, the Secretary shall forthwith:
(a) advise the parties accordingly and inform them if resolution is not achieved within a notified time, then the matter will again be considered by the Executive on notice to the parties;
(b) if resolution is not achieved within the notified time, notify the parties of the date, time and place when the Executive will reconsider the matter.
- On such reconsideration the Executive may decide to do either 3(a) or 3(b) above.
- If the Executive decides that a member has engaged in professional misconduct or infringed the Code of Conduct it may impose one or more of the following;
(a) a censure or reprimand;
(b) order the member to apologise to the complainant;
(c) order the member to reduce or refund fees to the complainant;
(d) order the member to take advice in relation to the management of his or her practice;
(e) order the member to undergo practical training or education;
(f) order the member to pay the Institute a fine not exceeding $3000;
(g) order the member to pay costs to the Institute not exceeding $3000;
(h) expel the member from membership of the Institute.
- There shall be no right of appeal from any such order.
- The Executive shall decide whether or not to notify members of any such orders.
3) If Step 2) b) has been followed and the President has decided that the ELINZ Code of Conduct may have been breached, he or she will seek further detailed information from you concerning the issues; and will then initiate the ELINZ Disciplinary Investigation Process;
4) If Step 2) b) above has been followed and the President has decided that the ELINZ Code of Conduct does not appear to have been breached, he or she will provide you with a written response outlining the reasons for his or her decision, together with other suggestions of how the issue could be resolved.
5) If Step 3) b) has been followed, you will have the ability to formally request the entire Executive Committee consider whether or not the President’s decision has been appropriate.