Conciliation is a voluntary service that will only occur if both the lawyer and the client wish to participate.
Complaints that may be suitable for conciliation include:
- cost disputes, where a resolution has not been able to be reached directly between the lawyer and client
- withholding documents or files - where a lawyer will not release the file to a client for information or to transfer it to another lawyer
- where a lawyer has placed a caveat on a client’s property or other assets
- communication breakdowns, such as a client’s lawyer ignoring correspondence and telephone calls
- where there is a need to rebuild or improve a lawyer/client working relationship
- where a lawyer cannot or will not explain how a client’s matter was handled
- where there are service issues that cannot be resolved.
Complaints that may not be suitable for conciliation include:
- if there is a possibility of criminal charges being laid against the lawyer
- if there is evidence of misconduct that makes it appropriate for disciplinary action to be taken against the lawyer
- where the safety of the client or lawyer may potentially be at risk
- where there is a power imbalance between the parties that cannot be addressed within the conciliation process.