The issue of complaining about legal services received from an attorney is understandably a sensitive one, if you are the attorney. But if you are the client, your rights to seek redress are encapsulated in the Attorneys Code of Conduct, which all practicing attorneys in South Africa are bound by. In this issue we focus on the process involved in reporting a complaint about an attorney, if you have cause to do so.
Source: Law Society of South Africa
The provincial law society to which the attorney belongs will conduct the investigations to decide whether disciplinary action is required. Based on the facts presented, by both the client and the attorney, the law society will decide whether to refer the matter to a disciplinary committee. This committee will either take a decision or, if of a serious nature, may refer the matter to the law society's council for a decision. All complaints must be made in writing in an affidavit. The attorney will be given a copy of the form you have completed and asked to report to the law society in writing. The law society will send a copy of the attorney's report to you.
The provincial law society will thoroughly assess all matters once the required correspondence has been exchanged. If the law society believes that there has been misconduct by an attorney, the law society will continue its investigations even if your complaint is withdrawn. ?The law society will close matters where there is no proof of allegations of unprofessional conduct. You and the attorney will be advised in writing.
The disciplinary committeemakes a decision based on the written correspondence presented by both you and the attorney and?may, in serious cases of unprofessional conduct, refer the matter to council of the law society for a decision.
Where the attorney is found guilty of unprofessional conduct, appropriate punishment is imposed. The attorney may appeal the decision. All parties are advised in writing of the outcome. The council of the law society has no power to order an attorney to pay compensation to a client. The council may also not give legal advice. If you wish to enforce your rights against your former attorney you should consult another attorney to assist you with an action in court. Know your rights! Email
or call 031-5025670 for any legal assistance. The Law Desk of Fawzia Khan & Associates. We know! We care! We deliver!