We recognize that it may be difficult to raise your concerns about sexual misconduct, harassment and/or discrimination that you have experienced. If you make a complaint about a lawyer’s conduct, the Law Society will take a trauma-informed approach to addressing your complaint. 

Our staff reviews all concerns. The types of complaints we may investigate against lawyers and articled students include:

  • sexual misconduct;
  • comments or gestures of a sexual nature, including sexually suggestive “jokes”;
  • bullying or harassment of any person; and
  • comments or conduct that discriminates against a person on the basis of Indigenous identity, race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or age of that person or that group or class of persons. This may include name-calling, demeaning sexualized comments and racist, homophobic or sexist “jokes.”

Making a complaint

Anyone who has a concern about a lawyer’s conduct can make a complaint whether you are a client, opposing party, or work with the lawyer. If you would like to make a complaint about sexual misconduct, harassment or discrimination:

  • You may send us a written complaint in any form you are comfortable with, including by email at hdinquiry@lsbc.org, regular mail to our offices or by using our online complaint form.
  • Recognizing that it may be difficult to set out your concerns in writing, you may contact us by phone at 604.605.5305. Someone will provide you with further information about the complaint process and discuss options for next steps with you.
  • You do not need to be a “complainant” in our process. You may choose to participate in our process as a witness.
  • There is no time limit within which you need to bring your complaint to us.  
  • All complaints involving sexual misconduct, harassment or discrimination are assigned to an investigator who understands the role that trauma may play. The investigator will be your contact person at the Law Society, and they will keep you informed of the status of the investigation and answer your questions.
  • Investigations involve gathering information about conduct concerns in a non-judgmental, fair and impartial manner. We may have to interview you, other witnesses, and the lawyer or articled student whose conduct we are investigating. We appreciate that the interview process may be stressful and challenging, and you may bring a support person with you to the interview if you wish.
  • Your complaint will be treated confidentially, with limited exceptions. We will not disclose the fact you have made a complaint or that an investigation is underway, until it may become necessary for us to do so to complete our investigation. We may have to disclose information you provide to us to the lawyer you are complaining about, so that they can respond to the conduct concerns.
  • At the conclusion of our investigation, the investigator will assess whether further action is necessary in keeping with our mandate to protect the public interest. Further information on the complaint process is available on our website.

 

Additional information

Discrimination and harassment may be contrary to the BC Human Rights Code. You can find information about this on the BC Human Rights Tribunal website.

If you are a lawyer, articled student, law student or support staff at a legal employer who has experienced or witnessed sexual misconduct, harassment or discrimination, you may wish to contact the Equity Ombudsperson. Contacting the Equity Ombudsperson is confidential and free of charge.

For any further questions or for more information, please contact us at 604.605.5305.