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Complaints Process

About the Complaints Process

The LSBC Tribunal is an independent adjudicative tribunal consisting of adjudicators and staff. Adjudicators include benchers and lawyer and public appointees. The LSBC Tribunal’s aim is to process, hear and decide the cases before it in a manner that is transparent, fair, and in the public interest. Adjudicators must adhere to a Code of Professional and Ethical Responsibilities.

Feedback about LSBC Tribunal services and processes

If you simply wish to provide feedback on ways we can improve our website, services or hearing processes, you can send your suggestions using our online Feedback form (Coming soon). We would really appreciate hearing from you. Your feedback on how we can serve you better will form the backbone of the Chair's Roundtable meetings.

Complaints about lawyers and articled students

This is not the correct forum to make complaints about lawyers or articled students. Complaints about the conduct of a lawyer or articled student should be made directly to the Law Society of British Columbia here.

Complaints about adjudicators and Tribunal Office staff

If you have serious concerns about the conduct of adjudicators or Tribunal Office staff and would like to make a formal complaint, please review the information set out below. This complaints process is meant to address the conduct of adjudicators and Tribunal Office staff. It is not a way for you to ask for a review of a hearing panel or review board decision nor can it be used to raise issues of law or jurisdiction or to re-litigate issues that were, or should have been, the subject of a hearing or judicial review.

Tribunal Counsel acts as the first point of contact for making a complaint at the LSBC Tribunal. If your complaint is about Tribunal Counsel, then the Tribunal Chair is the first point of contact.

Formal complaints must be made in writing and cannot be made anonymously. If you require accommodation to file your written complaint, contact Tribunal Counsel at Tribunals@lsbc.org. You must identify yourself and provide sufficient information for us to contact you. If we are unable to contact you, or you fail to respond to requests for additional information, we may close your complaint.

Complaints must be made within 60 days after the end of the adjudication process to which the complaint relates.

The complaint process is confidential. In the course of that process, a complaint may be shared with any adjudicator(s) or staff member(s) named in the complaint and others as part of the investigation and resolution process.

Complaints about staff or services

If your complaint is about a staff person, you should first raise your concern directly with that person. Together, you may be able to resolve the problem without the need for a formal complaint.

If you do not wish to speak with the staff person, or if you are not satisfied with that person’s response, ask to speak to the individual’s supervisor. Again, the goal is to resolve your problem without the need for a formal complaint.

If your complaint relates to a LSBC Tribunal service, or if you have not been able to resolve your staff complaint informally, send your written complaint to the attention of the Tribunal Counsel. Explain the reasons for your complaint (who, what, when, where). Please also include any supporting documentation you may have. If your complaint is about a particular file, please provide the file number.

Tribunal Counsel will respond within 30 working days. If we are not able to complete the review of your complaint within this time period, we will contact you to confirm that we have received the complaint and let you know what the next steps are.

Complaints about LSBC Tribunal adjudicators

The adjudicators at the LSBC Tribunal are the Tribunal Chair, motions adjudicators, and people assigned to LSBC Tribunal hearing panels and review boards.

As mentioned above, this process cannot be used to complain about a decision or order made by a motions adjudicator, hearing panel or review board. If you feel a decision in your case is wrong and should be changed, you must follow the review or appeal procedures provided in the Law Society Rules and the Legal Profession Act.

If your complaint involves the conduct of an adjudicator that you believe could affect the outcome of your case, you should raise it during the pre-hearing or hearing. Failing to do so could prejudice your rights and interests.

If you have a complaint, send it in writing to Tribunal Counsel. Please provide the file number, the name of the adjudicator(s), the specific reasons for your complaint (what, when, where). Please also include any supporting documentation you may have.

Tribunal Counsel will respond within 30 working days. If we are not able to complete the review of your complaint within this time period, we will contact you to confirm that we have received the complaint and let you know what the next steps are.

If your case is ongoing, action on your complaint will normally be postponed until the final decision is issued or the adjudicator's involvement in the case has ended. This is to protect the fairness and impartiality of an ongoing proceeding.

Complaint process

Tribunal Counsel receives the complaint and reviews it. This may involve discussing the complaint with you.

Tribunal Counsel will assess whether the complaint is one that the LSBC Tribunal can consider under this process - in other words that the complaint is not vexatious or about the findings in a proceeding.

If Tribunal Counsel is of the view that the LSBC Tribunal cannot consider the complaint, Tribunal Counsel will consult with the Tribunal Chair, unless the complaint is about the Tribunal Chair, in which case Tribunal Counsel will consult with a senior motions adjudicator. If the Tribunal Chair agrees, the LSBC Tribunal will advise you in writing as soon as possible.

If Tribunal Counsel is of the view that the complaint describes conduct that allegedly violates the Code of Professional and Ethical Responsibilities of Tribunal Adjudicators or that the LSBC Tribunal can otherwise consider, Tribunal Counsel will advise the Tribunal Chair, unless the complaint is against the Tribunal Chair, in which case Tribunal Counsel will advise a senior motions adjudicator.

The Tribunal Chair may discuss the complaint with you and the adjudicator separately. The Tribunal Chair may also delegate this initial discussion or any other part of the complaint process to Tribunal Counsel or an independent person outside the LSBC Tribunal. The Tribunal Chair will assess the complaint and the response and determine whether the complaint can be resolved informally. If it cannot be resolved informally, the Tribunal Chair or delegate will decide whether further investigation is appropriate.

The investigation may include:

  • Discussing the complaint with you, the adjudicator, and any other individuals with relevant information;
  • Reviewing the file materials;
  • Gathering and reviewing other relevant information;
  • Consulting with other staff, adjudicators, the Tribunal Chair or legal counsel.

After the investigation is completed, the LSBC Tribunal will advise you in writing of any outcome of the Tribunal Chair or delegate’s assessment, which can include:

  • Determining that the complaint is not valid or is vexatious and should not proceed further;
  • Determining that the complaint may be valid and referring the complaint to a person outside the LSBC Tribunal for further investigation, analysis and/or recommendations;
  • Determining that the complaint is valid and referring the adjudicator to professional development such as specific training or education;
  • Determining that the complaint is valid and referring the service issue for policy consideration in order to review and improve the LSBC Tribunal’s services.

Privacy

While the LSBC Tribunal is committed to protecting the privacy of information it obtains in the course of carrying out its functions, confidentiality of the information that you or any other person has provided in the course of submitting a complaint cannot be guaranteed because: 

  • some or all of the information received may be shared with any adjudicator(s) or staff member(s) named in the complaint and others as part of the investigation and resolution process; 
  • the LSBC Tribunal may at its discretion talk to any third parties who may have relevant information concerning the matters raised in the your complaint; and 
  • our records are subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FIPPA”) and as a result, information gathered by the LSBC Tribunal may be disclosed, on request, to other persons whose interests are affected subject to relevant exceptions to disclosure contained in FIPPA.

Contact Information

Tribunal Counsel

Tribunal Office
9th Floor, 845 Cambie Street 
Vancouver, BC V6B 4Z9

Email: tribunals@lsbc.org