LawAccess NSW > Representing Yourself > Legal Skills > Dealing with your lawyer

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Complaints about a lawyer

If you are not happy with the way your lawyer has handled your matter, you could:

    ​Talk to yo​​ur lawyer

    Your lawyer may not know that you are unhappy with them, and sometimes talking to your lawyer about the issue may help resolve the problem.

    If you are not comfortable talking to your lawyer you can try writing to them. In your letter, you should be clear about what the issue is and what action or outcome you want from them.

    Make a complaint to the Office of the Legal Services Commissioner (OLSC)

    If talking to your lawyer has not resolved the issue, you can try making a complaint about the lawyer to the Office of the Legal Services Commissioner (OLSC).


    OLSC may seek to resolve consumer disputes, and has power to investigate complaints raising conduct issues. Complaints may also be referred to the professional associations for investigation, and the OLSC has a role in monitoring those investigations.

    To make a complaint, you can:

    • get a complaint form on the OLSC website, or
    • write a letter to the OLSC.

    Your letter must:

    • be in writing but not email
    • clearly identify yourself
    • clearly identify the lawyer you have a complaint against
    • state the reason for the complaint
    • be signed by you.

    You can then email, fax or post the letter or form to the OLSC.

    After receiving a complaint, the OLSC may:

    • investigate the complaint
    • try to resolve the matter informally by way of correspondence and/or telephone contact
    • refer the matter to the NSW Law Society or NSW Bar Association
    • dismiss the matter.

    Alert icon  There is no fee for making a complaint to the OLSC. You have three years from the date of the lawyer's conduct to make a complaint to the OLSC. If it has been longer than three years, the Commissioner may extend this time limit.

    For more information on the OLSC complaint process, go to the OLSC website.

    If you have a complaint against the lawyer's costs, see Legal costs.

    Start legal action

    If your lawyer has acted negligently, you may be able to take legal action against them for any financial loss that has been caused. All lawyers have compulsory insurance against legal actions for negligence.

    Alert icon  You have six years to start legal action for professional negligence.

    Alert icon  Before taking any legal action, you should get legal advice from a lawyer who specialises in professional negligence cases.  

    Furthe​​​r information

    ​​​​Offi​ce of the ​Legal Services - What Happens When You Complain to the OLSC